Chilean workers have held a rally in the capital Santiago for the third consecutive day to protest against the country’s privatized pension system.
On Sunday, thousands of people marched under rain in the city, calling for reforms in the Pension Fund Administrators (AFP), managed by private companies.
They say that the AFP, created during the reign of former president Augusto Pinochet (1973-1990), does not guarantee a dignified old age and only perpetuates inequality.
“What we need is a new pensions system, a new retirement plan that improves our conditions for retirement. Because after a whole life working, being exploited, we are to find ourselves with a retirement that has no dignity,” said protester Concepcion Martin.
Another demonstrator, Marco Antonio Parra, said “we have to advance onto a national strike” if the government fails to find a solution to the problem.
The “No to the AFPs” movement has announced a national strike for November 4 as well.
Chile’s pension system is run by six private pension fund administrators which manage some $160 billion in assets.
President Michelle Bachelet has offered a plan to hike the pension contribution rate by 5 percentage points. That would cost about $3.8 billion a year, with the state paying $1.5 billion, the government said in August.
Bachelet also said she would continue to push for the creation of a public pension fund to give workers an alternative to the current private system.
Many Chilean workers are not able to pay the required retirement fee because their salaries are not increased by employers annually to meet inflation.
Additionally, many workers have difficulties to achieve the many decades of monthly payments needed to ensure at least a minimum pension.