Tens of thousands protest Belgian pension reform

Tens of thousands of people marched through the Belgian capital Brussels on Wednesday to protest the centre-right government's plans to reform pensions. Police said 55,000 people took part in the demonstration against a points-based retirement system and the planned increase in the retirement age from 65 to 67 years around 2030.



Unions said there were 70,000 protesters. Police said some 25,000 took part in a similar protest in December.

"We want a pension scheme that is enough to live on, not work more for less," CSC union leader Marie-Helene Ska told Belga news agency.

The FGTB union has for months called for keeping the retirement age at 65 years old, despite a law parliament passed in 2016 to set the age at 67-years-old around 2030.

The union said workers involved in hardship jobs should be able to take their full pension at 60-years-old or even before.

Prime Minister Charles Michel's government has "significantly reduced the rights of future pensioners in a way that has not been seen since World War II," his socialist predecessor Elio Di Rupo told RTBF broadcaster as he marched in the procession.

One year from parliamentary elections in Belgium, the socialist party has pledged to reverse the reforms agreed in the current legislature if it returns to power.