Residents of Athens will be left without public transport on Tuesday due to a 24-hour strike against changes in the pension system – the subway will be closed, buses, trolleybuses and trams will not run.
The strike is planned to take place in a number of Greek cities and many trade union organizations, including local government workers, doctors and nurses, teachers, the communist trade union General Fighting Front (PAME), the Confederation of Trade Unions of Civil Servants ADEDY. The 24-hour strike was also announced by the All-Greek Merchant Marine Union, and the port of Piraeus will not work.
The GSEE private sector workers’ union has not joined the strike.
There will be rallies and demonstrations by unions in Athens.
Due to the strike of public transport workers in Athens, traffic jams are expected as the city residents will switch to private transport.
Trade unions note that the government of the New Democracy Party, which came to power in July 2019, continues the social security policy agreed with creditors in 2010-2019, which led to a reduction in pensions from 20% to 60%.
Workers’ organizations are calling for the repeal of the so-called “Katroungalos law”, named after former Minister of the Left Government of SIRIZA Giorgos Katroungalos, and for the repeal of the bill introduced by the current Minister of Labour and Social Affairs Jānis Vruzis.
“The government is not only not repealing the ‘Katroungalos law’ as it promised pensioners in the election campaign, but is also trying to protect it with laws and apply it quickly”, – said the PAME union.
Its statement says that with the new law, the retirement age is 67 years for all, men and women, with no exceptions for any category of workers. The supplementary pension funds are completely abolished. The thirteenth and fourteenth pensions, which had been cut by previous laws in 2010-2012, are irrevocably abolished. Additional pensions, the so-called epicurean pensions received from contributions to private insurance funds, are further reduced. The state guarantee is limited to €345 “national pension”, says the union.
According to the union, looting of social security funds continues, and there is no means to recover the stolen funds, only through the forced write-off of part of the value of assets (private sector involvement, PSI) in order to recapitalize banks, the Samaras-Venizelos government (in 2012-2015) stole 17.5 billion euros.
The statement demands to revoke the bill, repeal the “Katroungalos law”, cancel the increase in the retirement age to 67 years, set the retirement age at 60 for men and 55 for women, reducing it by five years for workers with difficult and unhealthy working conditions. The requirements also include restoring the 13th and 14th pensions, setting the minimum pension at 80 per cent of the salary, and full state guarantee of all pensions. There should be no pensions less than €600, said in a statement.The EU has agreed to establish a mission to control the arms embargo on Libya