Fresh blow in store for re­tirees

Fur­ther re­duc­tion to many aux­il­iary pen­sions from to­mor­row, while lenders ask for more flex­i­ble la­bor laws

Kathimerini English - - Focus - BY ROULA SALOUROU & SOTIRIS NIKAS

Thou­sands of pen­sion­ers will be dealt a fresh blow to­mor­row as they pick up their lighter aux­il­iary pen­sions, while the coun­try’s cred­i­tors have asked for a se­ries of amend­ments to la­bor laws and are de­mand­ing ex­tra mea­sures for the pri­mary sur­plus tar­get to be met next year, adding to the pres- sure on the Greek gov­ern­ment.

The Novem­ber aux­il­iary pen­sions of thou­sands of re­tirees will be re­duced due to their re­cal­cu­la­tion, which has taken place in three stages, start­ing in Septem­ber. This month the last group of pen­sion­ers will be af­fected by the cuts, which also in­clude retroac­tive de­duc­tions back to June, when the ad­just­ment was cal­cu­lated.

Many pen­sion­ers will see their aux­il­iary pen­sions slashed by at least 50 eu­ros, and it is pos­si­ble a great num­ber of them will re­ceive just a hand­ful of eu­ros to­mor­row. Ac­cord­ing to es­ti­mates, the ma­jor­ity of pen­sion­ers will be asked to pay the retroac­tive de­duc­tions in two or three in­stall­ments, while larger amounts may be bro­ken down into up to 10 in­stall­ments.

The La­bor Min­istry is also try­ing to pre­pare its re­sponse to the cred­i­tors, who ac­cord­ing to the Par­lia- men­tary Bud­get Of­fice, are push­ing for an in­crease in the max­i­mum rate of group lay­offs from 5 to 10 per­cent, the abo­li­tion of the mech­a­nism that raises civil ser­vants’ salaries ev­ery three years, cor­po­rate la­bor con­tracts be­ing given pri­or­ity over sec­tor la­bor con­tracts, and changes to union leg­is­la­tion.

The gov­ern­ment is also be­ing pres­sured to fill a bud­get hole that the cred­i­tors have re­port­edly 1.0946 iden­ti­fied in 2017 that would re­quire ad­di­tional mea­sures of up to 360 mil­lion eu­ros for the pri­mary sur­plus tar­get to be met, plus an­other hole of 550 mil­lion eu­ros for 2018.

In this con­text the cred­i­tors are ask­ing the gov­ern­ment to take mea­sures in the di­rec­tion of the pro­pos­als from the World Bank, which has rec­om­mended a dras­tic re­duc­tion in the tax-free level and so­cial ben­e­fits.

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