Merger plan for pension funds

The Finance Ministry is likely to propose the merging of pension funds in Parliament tomorrow as part of talks on the reform of the social security system, in which union groups refuse to take part. According to government sources, the Finance and Labor ministries will propose rolling 154 funds into 14 to help improve the financial health of the pension system. The conservative government says that it currently pays around 13 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) to support pensions and fears the amount could reach as high as 25 percent by 2050 unless swift action is taken. The next round of parliamentary talks on social security reforms are expected to start tomorrow. But the country’s two largest union groups, GSEE and ADEDY, refuse to take part until the government pays money its owes to the funds. «If you insist on holding talks without any discussion on financing, you will continue your state monologue, without any participation from GSEE,» said the union group, which represents more than 2 million private sector workers. We will answer through protest action, it added. GSEE has called a general strike for December 12 and will be joined by ADEDY, which represents civil servants, in protest action that is expected to bring the country to a standstill. Representatives from the left-wing Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) and the Communist Party (KKE) have also flatly refused to sit in on the talks at the level of parliamentary economic committee.