Protests in Palma demanding better pensions. | Teresa Ayuga


There were two marches calling for decent pensions in Palma yesterday. One was the political protest led by unions and with the support of government ministers and other politicians. The second, a small one, was essentially non-political on behalf of the platform for guaranteeing pensions. The spokesperson for this latter protest. Marti Cifre, stated that "pensions of 300 euros are impossible to tolerate". He stressed that it was pensioners themselves who had called the protest and not unions. "They carry their flags and wanted to be photographed."

Cifre insisted that the two protests weren't the same. The situation with pensioners was due, he said, not only to the Partido Popular of the national government but also to the Balearic government, which "says it's with the pensioners and does nothing at all". People are dying, he went on, because they are not getting what they should do by law. "This is the fault of the (national) government. All we want, without waving flags, is a decent pension for everyone. People are having a terrible time. Retired folk can't afford medicine, and we have been fighting this cause for eighteen months."

At the main demonstration, the secretary for pensioners at the CCOO union, Rafaela García, demanded that pensions rise at least in line with the cost of living index. Mundita Bustin of the UGT stated that the 0.25% increase in pensions this year was "a load of shit in that it doesn't help us pay for electricity and water".

Political parties represented were PSOE, Podemos, Més and the United Left. Ministers in attendance were Fina Santiago (social services), Marti March (education), Catalina Cladera (finance) and Iago Negueruela (employment). Among others who took part were José Hila, the Palma deputy mayor for urban planning, and the second vice-president of the Council of Majorca, Jesús Jurado.

There were protests elsewhere in the Balearics and across Spain yesterday. According to Palma's councillor for public safety, Angelica Pastor, around 10,000 people in all were protesting.