NEWS

Dozens of MPs seek wage hikes

Just a few days after it emerged that several former MPs suing for retroactive pensions had dropped their claims following a public and political outcry at such claims being made during a period of austerity, Kathimerini has learned that dozens more deputies have lodged legal appeals over the past few years seeking salary hikes.

According to sources, a total of 284 legal suits have been lodged with the Athens Court of First Instance since 2008 by MPs demanding that their salaries be increased to the level of Supreme Court judges. The value of each deputy?s claims is in the region of 250,000 euros, the sources said. The overall amount sought is estimated at 70 million euros.

The MPs? action is based on a 1975 law linking their salaries to those received by Supreme Court judges.

The former MPs who lodged their suits for retroactive pensions invoked the same law.

Last week, Florentia Kaldi, a judge at the Court of Audit, told a parliamentary committee that some 800 lawmakers who served between 2003 and 2008 had sued for retroactive pensions. The total value of the pensions sought is estimated at between 80 and 100 million euros.

News about the claims last week elicited criticism from all political parties and prompted Finance Minister Giorgos Papaconstantinou to suggest that he would pass a law preventing the claimants from ever collecting the money.

Judicial sources have indicated however that such a reform, if passed, would be difficult to enforce because the law would not be able to revoke a judicial decision. They say the simplest way of solving the dilemma would be for all retired lawmakers to drop their suits, which a handful have done since last week.