Unions appeal wage and pension cuts

A slew of legal challenges against austerity measures adopted by the government as part of an emergency loan agreement it signed with the European Union and the International Monetary Fund were lodged yesterday with the Council of State, the country’s highest administrative court. The appeals – brought by 10 unions including the Athens Bar Association (ABA), the civil servants’ union (ADEDY) and the Athens Journalists’ Union (ESIEA) – claim that the wage and pension cuts introduced by the government violate the Constitution, EU legislation and international labor contracts. The challengers also contest the effectiveness of the measures. «The measures cannot push down inflation… and reducing the income of civil servants and pensioners will not bring about a more competitive economy,» the unions said in a joint statement. The statement adds that the cuts imposed by the government’s agreement with its creditors, known as the memorandum, will mean many citizens will have to struggle to make ends meet. «There is no clear evidence to suggest… that workers’ and pensioners’ incomes will be maintained at viable levels,» the statement said. According to sources, the appeals are likely to be debated until September. The president of the ABA, Dimitris Paxinos, told a press conference yesterday that his union and the others would take their appeal to other courts too if necessary. «It is our obligation to defend our values. We will not give in,» he said, adding that the challengers’ aim was to tour the country to explain to citizens the impact of the memorandum. «Essentially it aims to sell off state wealth and this is something the Greek people should know about,» he said.

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