Ministry reverses judges' wage and pension cuts

The Finance Ministry on Tuesday submitted to Parliament an amendment abolishing cuts to judges’ salaries and pensions that have been enforced since August 2012 as part of troika-imposed reforms.

The move came a day after a court ruled that retroactive cuts imposed on the pensions of judicial officials were unconstitutional.

The changes, which were set out in a document from the General Accounting Office detailing the old and new salaries of judicial officials of different levels, will cost the state an estimated 100 million euros in backpay and an additional 69 million euros annually in view of the increased payouts the state will be making henceforth. The new salaries will range from 4,134 euros per month for the Supreme Court president to 1,488 euros a month for a magistrate of the peace, according to the General Accounting Office’s document; after the cuts in 2012, these salaries stood at 3,023 and 1,369 euros respectively.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Finance Ministry issued a circular stating that court rulings “will not have a horizontal effect” but will only apply to those who have challenged a decision and have been vindicated in court.

Government spokesperson Sofia Voultepsi clarified on Tuesday that MPs’ salaries and pensions would not be increased in line with those of the judges.

The authorities are keen to avoid setting a precedent that would oblige them to pay an inordinate sum in backpay to various groups of civil servants and burn a big hole in state finances as well as irking troika inspectors who are due to return to Athens for their next inspection in the first week of July.

Meanwhile a ruling by the Council of State, which was published on Tuesday, found that the terms accompanying Greece’s second loan deal with foreign creditors – including salary cuts in the private sector – are in keeping with the Constitution, rejecting an appeal by labor unions against it. The only provision the court found to be unconstitutional was the abolition of the right of unions to seek arbitration in a labor dispute independently.