NEWS

OA law to cost 1.3 billion euros

It will cost the cash-strapped government some 1.3 billion euros to make good on settlements to thousands of laid-off employees of the former state-carrier Olympic Air, in accordance with a law introduced by the previous conservative administration, Kathimerini has learned. The sum accounts for about a quarter of the 5 billion euros the government aims to raise with the raft of austerity measures it voted through Parliament last week. The law, which foresees early retirement for hundreds of former OA employees, is expected to cost insurance funds alone some 650 million euros, according to the General Accounting Office, which calculates and dispenses civil servants’ pensions. The office has been under occupation for nearly two weeks by former airline staff who are demanding that the government make good on the provisions of its predecessor’s law. The ex-OA employees launched their action early last month, when government officials indicated that the legislation was considered invalid, as it listed employees who should not have been included. The controversial law foresees, among other things, the granting of full pensions to all former OA flight attendants and ground staff on the condition of their having completed at least 7,500 days of insured work, irrespective of their age. This means that hundreds will retire with full pensions aged as young as 48. Another provision that would prove costly to the state allows former OA staff who have been transferred to other positions in the civil service to keep receiving the same wage they had when working at the carrier.