BUSINESS

Fresh blow in store for pensioners

ROULA SALOUROU, SOTIRIS NIKAS

TAGS: Finance

Thousands of pensioners will be dealt a fresh blow on Wednesday 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 pressure 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 Parliamentary 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 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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