Greek pensioners demonstrate against fresh round of cuts

3 days ago Newsroom 0

Xinhua — Thousands of Greek retirees returned to the streets of central Athens on Thursday to rally against the fresh round of pension cuts implemented by the government under bailout agreements.

According to a letter they received by Labor Minister Yorgos Katrougalos a few days ago, the new reductions on supplementary pensions introduced this summer were necessary to safeguard the sustainability of pension funds.

Once the national economy recovers, pensioners will receive raises, the letter read.

“In 2010 I was receiving 637 euros and today 209.3 euros. I am disabled and they slashed my pension because the state can no longer pay,” one of the pensioner protesters said, showing his bank account book.

“Here are the documents. 422 euros gross salary and now it dropped to 228 euros,” added another also showing the latest receipts of his pension payments.

According to Dimos Koubouris, President of the Federation of Pensioners of IKA, the largest social insurance fund in Greece, the average reduction in supplementary pensions since 2010 has reached 82 percent, and in main pensions 45 percent.

The reductions are added to cuts in welfare spending and the extra burden pensioners have shouldered in recent years by supporting their jobless children and grandchildren.

According to a recent survey of the Greek National Statistics Authority (ELSTAT), 52 percent of households in Greece today live on the pensions of their older members.

According to Labour Ministry data, the average pension in Greece today stands at 664 euros per month and supplementary pension at 168 euros before tax.

Despite the rounds of cuts since 2010 data show that pension funds are collapsing due to high unemployment rates, a rise in undeclared labour contributions and the 2012 PSI deal which depleted a the reserves in seven of Greece΄s pension funds. to the funds have dropped significantly and after seven years of recession overdue contributions have exceeded 30 billion euros.

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