Pensions and jobs up for discussion

Labor and Social Insurance Minister Andreas Loverdos is today due to meet visiting representatives of the European Commission, International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank for talks on the government’s proposed reforms for a creaking pension system – one of the prerequisites for the multibillion-euro loan Greece has been promised. A draft bill detailing the reforms, which aim to raise the legal retirement age, cut monthly payments and abolish privileges, is to be submitted in Parliament next week. Sources told Kathimerini yesterday that there are fears among some in the government of certain cadres objecting to the abolition of long-established privileges for a number of social groups. Before the country’s lawmakers get to look at the bill, Loverdos must run it by the visiting foreign officials who will check whether it is in accordance with an agreement signed between Greece and its creditors to secure 110 billion euros in loans over the next three years. In a related development, a presidential decree made public yesterday outlined changes to labor relations planned by Loverdos’s ministry. The reforms, which will make it easier for employers to make staff redundant and change the way that settlements to dismiss employees are paid, provoked the anger of labor unions yesterday. The General Confederation of Greek Labor (GSEE), which represents about 2 million workers, condemned the proposed changes as «unacceptable and against the Constitution» and threatened to take legal action on the national and European level.