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Polish pension plans spark protest

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Polish pension plans spark protest

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The wave of protests over government measures to tackle the financial crisis around Europe has also engulfed Poland.

A huge crowd gathered outside Parliament in Warsaw after lawmakers passed pension reforms that will raise the retirement age by two years.

The measure is a compromise between partners in Poland’s ruling coalition.

With a majority of just three, Prime Minister, Donald Tusk had to make concessions.

But despite massive popular opposition, given the country’s demographics, many experts see major reform as vital.

Sociologist Janusz Czapinski explained unless something was done, in 20 years time, workers’ contributions would be entirely swallowed up by paying existing pensioners without putting anything into the pot for future ones.

Poland’s Solidarity union opposes the plans, pointing out Poles already have the second longest working week in the world.

But the alternatives, raising pension contributions or VAT,are unlikely to go down well either.