OPINION

Is pension reform too hot to handle?

We all know very well how governments will do anything to avoid tackling problems that bear a high political cost. Topping the list of such problems is social security reform… We don’t need to be reminded of the panic-stricken backtracking of the last PASOK government in 2001 when its proposed pension legislation caused an uproar among workers, unionists and even some party members. New Democracy – then in opposition – had publicly criticized PASOK’s original draft bill as «ineffective and patchy» without, however, offering a detailed alternative proposal of its own… Now that ND is the governing party, it is unclear whether it will tackle the thorny issue of social security reform during the course of its current term or whether it is planning to handle this political hot potato at the beginning of the second term it is hoping to secure. The one sure thing is that the issue is creeping back to the surface, as we can see with the restructuring of the Hellenic Telecommunications Organization (OTE), the National Bank and Emporiki Bank, the problems being faced by banking employees due to major «voluntary redundancy» programs and attempts to incorporate large groups of workers into the Social Security Foundation (IKA) – hardly the image of a healthy system…