The National Front for Retirees is holding forums around the country to build support for changes to Ecuador’s Social Security system. The Front, which is a coalition of several retiree organizations, says it is worried that the system will not be able to provide health care services and pensions to it members in the future.
“We need to reform the Social Security Act,” says Alfonso Yanez, president of the National Coordinator of Retired Persons. “Because of changes the government made to save money, the system is not financially secure and could go bankrupt.”
Yanez says that the system was jeopardized by the government’s decision to withdraw a guaranteed contribution of 40% of the the system’s costs. When it withdrew the contribution, government officials said that the system needed to be self-sustaining.
Yanez and other leaders say they will submit proposed changes to government officials and the National Assembly. They also say they are prepared to mount public protests in November if changes are not accepted.
So far, forums have been held in Quito, Cuenca, Guayaquil, Ambato, Ibarra, and Santo Domingo, and more are planned.
“We will keep on fighting to defend the health system and pensions,” Yanez says. “If we do not remain vigilant and press the fight, we will be the first to be affected. We have paid for these benefits and deserve to receive them.”
There are indications that the government shares some of the retirees’ concerns. President Rafael Correa said that he has prepared a draft amendment to the Law on Social Security, but the details have not been released.