Rubber stamp put on reforms

The conservative government gave the final nod to the pension reforms in Parliament late yesterday after weeks of strike action by workers as the country’s two largest union groups announced plans for a new midweek rally. A total of 151 MPs in the 300-seat Parliament voted in favor of reforms, with 146 deputies voting against. New Democracy MP Miltiadis Evert was not able to vote after falling ill and his attempt to vote by letter was rejected. The reforms include merging scores of pension funds into just 13 and offering incentives to work longer in changes needed to help prevent the system from going bust in 15 years, according to the government. Union groups have opposed the changes, arguing they will harm their pension rights, and have launched protest action that has repeatedly brought the country to a halt. GSEE and ADEDY, union groups representing the private and public sectors respectively, announced yesterday they will rally outside Parliament tomorrow at 7 p.m. as representatives put forth their petition for a referendum to decide on reforms. Meanwhile, lawyers will walk off the job today, winding up their latest 48-hour strike, and Bank of Greece employees will strike for another day. Ongoing strike action by employees at the Bank of Greece is causing some liquidity problems for the financial system, forcing some banks to fly in euros from abroad.

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