Reform talks prompt strike

Greece’s two largest union groups ADEDY and GSEE have called a 24-hour strike for next month as the government continued talks in Parliament yesterday on social security reforms without the participation of workers and left-wing opposition parties. GSEE, which represents more than 2 million private sector workers, has said it refuses to take part in the talks and accused the government of hiding its real intentions through the procedure. «If there is no specific and binding proposal from the government, then there is no sense in GSEE taking part in the dialogue,» the union group said. ADEDY, which represents civil servants, also said it will take part in the strike set for December 12, in protest action that is expected to bring the country to a standstill. Talks on pension reforms resumed in a parliamentary economic committee yesterday, however participants were mainly from the conservative government as the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) and the Communist Party (KKE) have also flatly refused to sit in on any discussions. PASOK leader George Papandreou said the Socialists will once again take their position at the negotiation table with their own proposals. «We aggressively defend the rights of workers and pensioners,» said the PASOK leader. According to an experts committee report, the government must raise the real retirement age, merge a multitude of pension funds and review all disability pensions to avoid a social security crisis, Reuters reported yesterday. The report said pension costs could rise to 25 percent of gross domestic product by 2050 from 12.5 percent this year.