Russia's biggest trade union vows to protest a higher retirement age
The Federation of Independent Trade Unions (FNPR), Russia’s largest labor union, is calling for protests, marches, and pickets against the government’s plans to raise the retirement age. In a letter, FNPR chairman Mikhail Shmakov stressed that all demonstrations should be carried out within the strict confines of Russia’s laws on public assemblies. Shmakov is also urging regional labor union leaders to meet with governors to convey organized labor’s opposition to the proposed pension reforms.
Russia’s second-largest union, the Confederation of Labor, launched a petition on Change.org against the pension reforms, attracting more than a million signatures in just three days. (At the time of this writing, the petition had more than 1.9 million signatures.) The text argues that the authorities can address the pension system’s deficits by cracking down on “informal employment,” without raising the retirement age.
A similar petition appeared on the Russian government’s “Public Initiative” online portal, where it quickly attracted the 100,000 signatures necessary for consideration by a government “expert group.” That review board can either submit the petition’s demands to lawmakers for legislative consideration or — more likely — it will simply ignore them.