Attacks on social security systems in Latin America continue


On 10 June 2017, the Federation of Building and Wood Workers of Nicaragua (FITCM-N), a federation affiliated to the BWI in this country, reported on the most recent and worrying proposals of reforms to the Nicaraguan Social Security Law, which will affect the rights of insured workers in the future.

The main proposals of this modification, presented for the first time in 2010 to the National Economic and Social Council (CONAPES) of Nicaragua and ratified last May to the same entity, include: raising the retirement age from 60 to 65 years; increase of the minimum contribution period from 750 shares to 1,500; review the pension adjustment mechanism and reduction of benefits granted to the insured.

This problem is similar in several countries of Latin America. In particular, Brazil, through the government of Michel Temer has proposed to the National Congress reforms that will force 40 years of work with at least 25 years of contribution (actual contribution is 15 years) and establish as a minimum retirement 62 for women and 65 for men.

In Guatemala, proposals for reforming the Social Security System include alarming reductions to the current system in this country. Finally, in the Dominican Republic, recently, the Government approved the transfer of all medical services previously offered by the Dominican Institute of Social Insurance (IDSS) to the National Health Service (SNS). This mandate has forced the IDSS to cancel all medical services to temporary workers in sectors such as agriculture, port and construction.

All these measures have been carried out without due consultation with workers' representatives and in complete violation of ILO Conventions such as 102 on Social Security; convention ratified by the Dominican Republic and Brazil until today.

In view of the above, BWI General Secretary, Ambet Yuson, mentioned in his speech at the International Labour Conference (ILC): "We also consider that the mission of protecting trade union rights is directly related to health and safety on the job. Simply put, workers who have trade unions are safer".

The BWI will continue to support all the fight actions that our affiliated organisations carry out in defense of the dignity of their workers. The BWI already did so in alliance with its affiliates in the Dominican Republic in defense of FOPETCONS (Pension Fund of Construction Workers) and in support to the National Strike in Brazil on 28 April 2017, and will do it all again if necessary in Latin America and the Caribbean.