Pension reforms to be addressed

Prime Minister George Papandreou is today to preside over a Cabinet discussion about planned reforms to the country’s creaking pension system and labor relations before answering questions in Parliament from opposition deputies who have criticized the unpopular changes. But it is not only the political opposition and the labor unions the government has to appease. Many cadres of ruling PASOK reportedly remain extremely skeptical about the prudence and fairness of the planned measures. Sources told Kathimerini yesterday that some PASOK deputies have even received threatening telephone calls. «There are some messages being given by citizens reacting to the planned changes and this is normal but there are also some more extreme warnings,» said PASOK MP Yiannis Amoiridis. The final provisions of the draft bill, detailing the reforms to the pension system and labor relations laws, are to be approved by the Court of Audit, whose officials started looking through the proposed reforms yesterday. According to sources, the court’s plenary session has already deemed some of the provisions as violating the Constitution. The court officials are to continue their analysis of the proposed amendments today before submitting their verdict to the government. Well-informed sources told Kathimerini yesterday that top court officials are seriously concerned about plans to whittle down the number of pension funds to three. According to the same sources, the officials believe that the inclusion of employees from the state and private sectors in the same pension funds would be a violation of the Constitution.