Thousands rally against Morocco pension reforms

Rabat - Thousands of Moroccans demonstrated on Sunday in the capital Rabat to protest against a new law raising the retirement age from 60 to 63 for public sector employees.

The law to reform state pensions, passed by a majority vote of 70 to 35 on Wednesday, stipulates that the change will be introduced gradually from next year.

Trade unions had mobilised since January in an attempt to counter pension reform, arguing that salaries would fall sharply by 20-40% when the new retirement age comes into effect.

But the government has pressed ahead with the plan amid reports that the state pension fund is on the brink of collapse with debts of more than 629 billion dirhams ($56bn).

On Sunday, the protesters gathered in central Rabat before marching towards parliament, chanting "Freedom, dignity, social justice!" an AFP correspondent said.

The demonstrators called on the authorities to revoke the law which they said would undermine state pension funds.

Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane admitted on Thursday that the new law "is difficult".

"I thank the Moroccan people for understanding the need for this law which is in their interest, although it is a difficult one, and I admit that," he said.


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