Only five state-run pension funds will operate if the government succeeds with its social security reform program, which will also see those funds with a surplus providing financial cover for funds that are strapped for cash, Employment and Social Security Minister Vassilis Magginas revealed yesterday. Magginas held talks with representatives of journalists’ and lawyers’ unions to discuss how the government plans to deal with a retirement system that is threatening to derail the country’s finances in the next decade. He said that 155 pension funds would be merged into just five and not eight as had been suggested last week. Magginas also indicated that all the funds’ reserves would go into a common pot so that money from the wealthier funds, such as those of journalists, lawyers, engineers and doctors, could be used to make up the shortfalls in other pension groups. The minister suggested that the process of merging the funds would take between five and seven years. The government insists that it will not raise the retirement age of 65 years for men and 60 for women but Magginas suggested that the ruling conservatives are considering putting back some pension payout dates. So someone who has 35 years of service might have to wait until they are 60 to claim their pension, rather than 58, as is currently the case.