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Parliament staff rush to get pensions

Dozens of Parliament employees have rushed to apply for early retirement in an apparent bid to cling to their privileges after Prime Minister Antonis Samaras indicated that the exclusion of House employees from wage and pension cuts would be revoked.

On Wednesday, as MPs prepared to vote on a four-year austerity and reform package, Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras withdrew a bill aimed at revoking the privileged wage and pension status enjoyed by parliamentary staff after House employees threatened to strike, putting the smooth procedure of the vote at risk.

Stournaras’s pledge to bring the bill back to Parliament was echoed by Samaras on Sunday night in a speech before the budget vote. “Is it logical for Parliament employees to receive a lump sum upon retirement that is eight times as large as that of other civil servants?” he said. “We should establish real rights for all, not scandalous privileges.”

According to sources, 18 high-level parliamentary employees applied for retirement on Monday alone, bringing the total since Wednesday’s vote to 45.

An amendment dictating that the pensions of parliamentary staff should be level with those of other civil servants was passed in the House in 2010 but has yet to be enforced.

Meanwhile, 14 young Greeks who passed the examinations set by the Supreme Council for Personnel Selection (ASEP) to qualify for a post in Parliament a year-and-a-half ago are still waiting to start. “We want to work,” one of the successful candidates told Kathimerini. “We were successful in qualifying for a position and now we are being ignored.”

ekathimerini.com , Monday November 12, 2012 (20:56)  
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