Government U-turn on supplementary pension cuts

Greek premier Lucas Papademos and the social partners are to discuss all hot issues such as pensions, cuts and taxes, during their successive meetings on Wednesday. 

During a press conference which followed his meeting with Papademos, Labour minister Yiorgos Koutroumanis said that the government is not drawing red lines, yet “the best for all of us would be an agreement on wages”. 

Speaking about the the Troika’s demand to decrease minimum wages, Koutroumanis said it is an issue that does not concern us for the moment, nor does it concern businesses. The latter, he said, are preoccupied with the decrease in insurance money and taxes.

Sticking to a certain tack, Koutroumanis commented on the fact that he would like to see the issue of supplementary pension cuts dealt with with by mid-January. The decrease he keeps referring to is his own proposal, but he made clear it is something that would take place gradually, not suddenly. 

Regarding ND objections, Koutroumanis has presented them with all the data they need and is awaiting their response.

Concerning the strike organized by pharmacists, he expressed his puzzlement as he said they know they will be paid by two funds on the 5th and 23rd of January.

“It is unacceptable for them to be asking pensioners to pay for their medicines, when IKA (the largest Social Security Organisation in Greece) does not owe them a penny.

Asked if he thinks their mobilizations were provoked, the minister answered that he did not believe so, but instead thought they were annoyed by the new rules in prescriptions, noting however that they are pretty fair. 

The GSEE umbrella union is about to discuss only burning issues with the relevant minister, which concern the workers and measures that could change the present situation connected to the recession.

This coming Thursday, the cabinet will meet to discuss the new bill of the Finance ministry which will include all unresolved issues that have to be dealt with

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