Brazil strikes against controversial pension reforms.

Brazil strikes against controversial pension reforms.

A general strike will be held in cities across Brazil today in opposition to a pension reform bill backed by

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Photo: Reuters

A general strike will be held in cities across Brazil today in opposition to a pension reform bill backed by President Jair Bolsonaro.

The bill, coordinated by Congressman Samuel Moreira, would set the minimum retirement age to 65 for men and 62 for women. It would also delay full payout of pensions until 40 years of working contributions have been made. Supporters say the reform, which would save Brazil more than $230 billion over the next decade, is necessary to keep the country solvent–Brasilia’s social security spending is among the highest in the world.

Opponents say the bill unduly punishes the poor, who would have to work longer before being able to collect payouts. Regardless, many view the reform as the only way to revive the country’s flagging economy.

The bill was cleared on Thursday to be voted on by the lower house– likely sometime in the next few weeks. Reforms, which would require a 60% majority in both houses to pass into law, would be instituted over the next 12 to 14 years. Should the bill pass– and the government is optimistic that it will– expect increased investor confidence and a bump in Brazilian assets in the medium-term.

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