A bill to raise the age of retirment to 67 was passed in the Polish parliament today. 268 MPs voted in favour, 185 against, with one abstension.
Outside the parliament building members of the Solidarność trade union confederation held a protest. As I write they are blockading the entrance in order to prevent MPs - who are presently debating the issue of removing pension privilleges for uniformed workers - from leaving the building. Despite this the demonstration of trade unionists was relatively small and unlike the large demonstration at the end of March only included one of the three major national trade unions. The trade unionists were also not joined by other demonstrators from Warsaw, underlining a continual problem of the trade unions failing to reach out beyond its own ranks, even on issues which the vast majority of society are in agreement with them.
The bill to raise the age of retirement was opposed by the main opposition party the Law and Justice Party (PiS) and the Democratic Left Alliance (SLD). Once again the Palikot Movement (RP), who ostensibly are challenging the SLD to be the major party of the left in Poland, voted with the governing coalition. This is the second time in two days that RP have voted with the government in parliament, after opposing the resolution put forward by PiS yesterday that, in line with the country's constitution, any ratification of the EU's Fiscal Pact would have to be backed by at least 2/3 of MPs. The resolution was defeated, with the SLD abstaining in the vote.