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Greeks Angry About No Lay-Offs in Public Sector, Cuts in Lowest-Pensions

Greeks are getting more and more angry. Each and every day fresh adrenaline shot drive high blood pressure, heart beats and deep rooted frustration. They need just a tiny spark to explode. Reason for this boiling mood are the upcoming additional austerity measures, the so-called “spending cuts” worth 11. billion euro. So far, no public announcement has been made, but through a targeted channel, Samaras government and the Finance Ministry shed a light to the cutting plans.

Ministers preferably speak to the media about what cuts will not take place.

Finance Minister Yiannis Stournaras assured President Karolos Papoulias, that there would be no lay-offs in the Greek public sector. However the possibility of ‘labour reserve’ may come back, because fiscal numbers do not easily get together, Stournaras told Papoulias on Tuesday morning, in front to TV cameras and reporters microphones.

A little earlier alternate Finance Minister Christos Staikouras had told private broadcaster Mega TV that there will be no wages decreases in the so-called “special payrolls” that is for military and security personnel, academics, judges, state hospital doctors.

That is the nice side of the measures. The ugly is that the non-cuts have to be replaced through “equivalent measures”. And here comes the heavy hammer: Despite all previous assurances that no horizontal cuts would happen, there is a big and evil plan to cut pensions even for the low pensioners.

Cutting Low Pensions

Greek media, reported earlier today, that the coalition government partners and the finance ministry try to work out a plan to cut in fact the uncuttable: Low pensions!

3% for 600 -1,000 euro per month

5% for 1,000 – 1,400 euro per month

up to 10% for 1,400 PLUS euro per month

According to data available, 68% of Greek pensioners receive pensions up to 700 euro, 18% pensions of 700-1,000 euro and 10% more than 1,400 euro per month.

Government’s thought is allegedly that performing cuts for pensions 1,400 PLUS could not be sufficient as it’s only a ten percent receiving this money. Therefore, horizontal cuts would be necessary.

Further the government plans to lower the maximum pension cap from 2,700 euro down to 2,500. To cut double pensions (the second by 35%); 380,000 receive double pensions for having paid contributions to two insurance funds. Further there would be cuts in lump sums and compensations of the public sector. And generous cuts in all kinds of social benefits and welfare allowances.  

That means a pensioner from the private sector with 650-700 euro per month will feed the golden goose, so the public sector will enjoy the ‘untouchable status’ : no lay offs, pensions of 2,500 euro.

Please, go tell a low-pensioner that 2,500 is not much and that unions from public sector and state-run enterprises (utilities companies) are going to start protesting as of September.


While opposition parties have not reacted so far, as the upcoming cuts are not official, Greek internet users keep swearing from morning til the end of the day.

“Well done, keep your curs because they’re your clients and f*** the rest of us.”

“There is one thing we, from private sector, we can do: halt payments for 3 moths.”

“Do not fire anyone, Stournaras, keep them to sing for us the Xmas carols, when we won’t have even bread to eat. Sold, sick brains for how long will you destroy the people?”

“So it is! Keep the public -curs and use five frape-guys to fix something one German alone can fix. Where are you, Schaeuble, to save us!”

“Johnny-boy [Yiannis Storunaras], how about the 1.2 million jobless of the private sector? For them you don’t have a word to spear. Give everything to the army of party voters!”

“300 thousand civil servants have to go.”

“Yes, protect the special payrolls. They’re your clients, not us.”

“You cut money from a low-pensioner, also his welfare benefits. These people will commit suicide. But nobody cares. Main thing special payrolls who retire at 45 remain untouchable.”

“We won’t give a dime to tax office just for some to enjoy salaries of 3,000 euro.”

Yes, Greeks are getting more and more divided in two-clases society: civil servants & party voters and private sector employees & self-employees.

If such measures will get indeed the final touch, I see a very hot autumn ahead. Very dangerous….





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  1. I think you exactly play the game the government wants : dividing people. Private vs public.
    My two parents in law are both judges, with nice enough pension, and got during the last two years a 55% cut. That’s not enough for you ?

    I add that just in case you would be right, what would be the problem ? You really want to align the public wage from the bottom, instead of criticizing the cuts in private sector ?

    But anyway, you’re wrong, I don’t know any public employee around me that didn’t enjoyed a salary cut, regardless there grade, not a single one !


  2. If I wasn’t expecting this, one would forgive me for thinking establishment is actively looking for a confrontation with “The People”.
    Looks like they’ll get it, soon…

  3. I remember public servant desperately crying for private workers support few years ago …
    Now that’s our turn, we can only complain … that pure jealousy, mixed with stupidy …

    “First they came for the communists,
    and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.

    Then they came for the trade unionists,
    and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

    Then they came for the Jews,
    and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.

    Then they came for me
    and there was no one left to speak out for me.”

    Martin Niemöller

  4. My post above was not clear.
    I meant the gvt does only want a confrontation between “The People” and … “The People” !


  5. and what, pray tell us, is the problem with alighning the public pay with the bottom? Is the bottom too much of a problem for them? When then convict the vast majority of the people of greece to e at that bottom and indeed create the divide you talk about.
    this is the age old language of governments, and their weapon is money. divide by wage, divide by gender, divide by age, dividee by sexual orientation, parent against child, wife against husband, married against unmarried, you name. Little rules and regulations that ensure there will always be a grievance from one group in society to another. done through the divious language of rules and laws and wages. So what is the problem in getting rid of that divide and aligning public wage with private wage? give me one good reason why a judge should be paid more than a carpenter?

  6. Just as i have mentioned in the past. Greece has a new government alright, but the same ignorant and arrogant thieves are still governing.

    Greece has been divided by the government for years. Into the public sector and private sector. And they do not care as long as they get their votes so they can sit in that seat in parliament and collect their comfy salaries.

    Well we will be seeing a lot of yoghurt and frappes being thrown at politicians and at public servants who are not doing their job.

  7. if you see avareging salaries from the bottom as a benefit, we don’t have the same conception of a nation 😉

    Give me one good reason why a carpenter should not be paid as well as a judge ? 😉


  8. Because the rip-off of the state’s finances that has been going on for years makes it impossible. That is the very practical answer.
    It is also fact that if the equality starts from the bottom up, all and everybody can get deserved increases as they work together to build that nation, instead of some deciding they can have a disproportional wage and wage increase, almost at will, while others haven’t got enough to put a decent meal on the table.

  9. Whichever way you turn it: There is no solution without firing > 300.000 civil servants and cutting pensions significantly. (And doing a lot of other stuff)

    It is the same old same old: These plans are half baked and will not yield the required results. That only means that the crisis will linger on. Please prepare for new cuts and more and deeper recessions. It will continu until the Greek people will really bite the bullit (pun not intended).

  10. I’m pretty sure that you know, as well as I do, how much is the average salary in greece for a couple with 2 children ? 8000k a month.
    So sorry, I’ll not begin with 800€, that’s too low, and to much disparities with the high salaries! I canno’t accept it !
    800€ is not enough, cost of living here requires more than this !

  11. 300k ? Why ? base on what number ? your own estimation ? Official number ?
    For what annual gain ?
    I’m impatient to know more 🙂

  12. So why is it acceptable that hundreds of thousands of others are forced to live on 800€ or less, and do not have the choice of saying “No, it’s not enough”? What is the justification for that, leave alone where is the justice in that?
    Something has got to give, and those on 800€ or less are according to your very own reasoning not in a position to do so. It does not leave too much choice then, does it? Or is it back to “I’ve got it, and sod you lot?” Because that is the very same as “I’ve got it, and sod you Greece”!

  13. “So why is it acceptable that hundreds of thousands of others are forced to live on 800€ or less” : that’s of course not acceptable, and that’s exactly what I repeat from the begining !
    Maybe you missed my whole point : I prefer averaging the salaries at 2000€ and fu** the profiteers, than 800€ for everyone and lets the super rich alone !
    So no, I’ll not complain if a public servant is earning 1k€, I’ll complain that a private worker is earning less !


  14. keeptalkinggreece

    whether we complain about the low earning of the private sector or the high earnings of the public sector, true is Greek public sector earns much more when we compare working hours/salaries+benefits in these two sectors. that’s the bitter reality and thus in times of a broke state and taxpayers in deep depression and recession.

  15. as I posted on FB, that’s not true. Gap was 12% two years ago, and after the public wage cut that happened at the same time, it’s now on par :

    So maybe it worry you that your tax can pay peoples, but that’s clearly not the current problem of Greece !

  16. “300 thousand civil servants have to go.”

    That’s stupid. According to eurostat, there is a total of 668,035 and the end of 2011. That’s around 18% of the total labour force, less than many other countries in the world (USA are at 15% !).
    Firing half of them would lead to a 9%, a number that doesn’t exist nowhere in the world !!!


  17. Another intersting stats by OECD :

    Quote : “Greece has one of the lowest rates of public employment among OECD countries, with general government employing just 7.9% of the total labour force in 2008”

    The 7.9% is not including the workers of public companies, though !


  18. keeptalkinggreece

    none unemployed from the 18% , 1,200,000 jobless from the rest % lol

  19. keeptalkinggreece

    statistics? ha! go around and ask people about their salaries.

  20. And once again, what is important. The number of people employed in the service, or the service provided? What is the point of paying somebody who either simply doesn’t show up half of the time (like very many parliamentarians! They to are civil servants, just don’t like being called so), or what is the point in paying somebody to do nothing? Not so long ago I needed an official photocopy, so went down to the local KEP to get it and the stamp. It took 3 people to make a photocopy! That is simply insane. The whole civil service is a maze of little rules and regulations and union agreements, and nobody knows their arse from a hole in the ground anymore.
    Surely, if a country is going to pay for a civil service, they want that both to be civil and a service? I have lived in every country in Europe except for 1, and it is the very same story everywhere. Civil servants somehow seem to think themselves better as anybody else, and they all, in each and every country, have gotten themselves into a position where it is impossible to get rid of them, even if they simply don’t do a tap, ever. I am sure everybody knows the stories about “the civil servant”, sadly enough, not too many of them are urban myths. And the rot has permiated every level of the service, to the point that it isn’t a service anymore, it’s a burden.

  21. According to the spokesman of the EU Commission the average monthly salary of a Greek public sector employee is about € 3,000. I’m aware that there’s a pay scale for government employees which depends on the number of years of service, the position, etc. To simplify let’s base the calculations on the average monthly salary. Assuming that the figure provided above is correct and by making a 5% pay cut, the savings over two years are:

    € 3,000 /month x 0.05 x 670,000 employees x 12 months / year x 2 years = € 2.41 billion.

    Moreover, by cutting € 200 from both the 13th and 14th salaries of public sector employees the savings over two years are:

    € 400 x 670,000 employees x 2 years = € 536 million.

    By making just the two salary cuts mentioned above, if my math is right, the Greek government could save nearly € 3 billion over two years.

  22. No more coffee breaks? lol

  23. I don’t disagree, but firering people or lowering their salaries is certainly not a solution to these problems !
    Firing people or lowering their salaries will only leads to more poverty, and that’s exactly what happened in the last few years !
    What you propose is simply to cut a leg because it’s broken !

  24. Please, don’t talk to me like if I’m totally ignorant !
    Read carefully, and you’ll see that i’m too living in Greece, in west Peloponnese, i’m employing people, and i’m trying to develop a lot of things here to bring more money to the country.
    I now very well the situation and i’m the first to be saddened by the economic context !

    I’m not talking about salarie, i’m just saying that focusing on firing public workers or decreasing their salaries is a solution to nothing !
    As you surely seen in the last few years, it only leaded to poverty. THERE ARE real problem in Greece, so much that none seems to know where to begin, so please, please, focus on them, not populist statement, that will give nothing at the end !


  25. The base is wrong. According to academic research and official OECD numbers, average salary for the public service is 21k€ gross after the 12% cut from 2010. That’s 1750€ / month GROSS !
    remove the big part that will directly return to the state, and you will clearly see why all your maths lead to a wrong result !

    Plus you should know that the 13th and 14th doesn’t exist anymore !

    Conclusion 1 : there’s is no such simple solution to a very complex problem
    Conclusion 2 : never listen to a political spokesman 😉

  26. So firing people is a solution to unemployement ? REALLY ?

  27. keeptalkinggreece

    public spending must be cut. I wouldn’t know any other solution. do you?
    Ideally lowest wages and pensions should be rise. but that’s not possible under these circumstances. so what are we talking about here?

    Labour minister vroutsis said yesterday the lowst pension is 1400E – I suppose he implied in the public sector. because in the private sector is much lower. early retiement 25 work years in p.s. is 1000E, in priv.s. is 600E. There must be something wrong here, don’t you think?

  28. >”public spending must be cut.” Are you sure ? How much are the public expenditures (please remove the debt post from it, that I consider as immoral) ?

    Are you sure that increasing the incomes is not a solution too ? taxing more the ultra rich, the financial incomes, … ?

    >”Labour minister vroutsis said yesterday the lowst pension is 1400E”, hmmm, seems high, I know people that get 750€ net, that’s less than 1400€ gross !

    Anyway, they tried to lower the pensions during the last few years, public first, then private sector, then once again public servants, and now back to the private sector … did you really see any improvement of the situation ? Country is getting better ? Or in the way to something better ? I don’t think so, and I surely don’t think that continuing in the same direction will lead to something positive …

    Don’t forget that behind what you call civil servants, it’s only .. people, greek people, like you, that live as bad as you do, with more than often a single salary for the whole family. Do you really think that firing them, or lowering their salaries will give you a better economic situation ? Neo liberals tried that solution in a lot of countries during the last 50 years, and to my knowledge, it succeded nowhere !


  29. Finally it’s happening, enjoy !
    The public sector will suffer salary cuts too, for around 10% of the gross salary !
    You dreamed it, they did it !

  30. fx

    1. For your information the 13th and 14th salaries haven’t been eliminated. Government employees are paid a € 250 Easter bonus, a € 500 Christmas bonus and a € 250 subsidy leave.

    2. By using the €1,750 average monthly salary figure you provided and making an 8% pay cut the savings over 2 years are:

    €1750 x 0.08 x 670,000 employees x 12 months / year x 2 years = €2.25 billion

  31. no i’m sure of this, there is no more such thing as 13th and 14th month salaries, it had been replaced by a flat prime during 2010, prime that was lowered since then, and should be no more than 400€ a year now, I will ask for the right number.
    But it was just to make small correction, there is still money to cut there.

    As for the new formula, I agree, you made cuts. But please note that first, if you make cuts to the gross salary, around 40/50% of the cuts you made is in fact avoided by the lower tax collection from this category of people, that is one of the rare that cannot cheat !

    2nd, you’re cutting money from a category of people that actively participate to the economic life of the country. Consider the consequence on the whole economy.
    The vast majority of the public servants (more than 40%) get less than 1400€ gross. you can consider that these people reinvest almost 100% of their incomes in the local and real economy. That means, bilion less to stimulate the economy …

    Check the recent history, ask for economic specialist, you will have the same result : it will only accelerate recession, unfortunately !


  32. keeptalkinggreece

    “2nd, you’re cutting money from a category of people that actively participate to the economic life of the country” it translates into: taxpayers will lend money to civil servants so that c.s. will buy their products?

  33. That’s the idea. You pay them for a job, and at the end the money participate to the economic life of the country.

    you can argue that the money would be spent by the first category (the private sector), but in economy, you learn that the money is best spent if it’s equally shared between people (ie a man with 1000€ will spent 100% in real economy, and an man with 2000€ will spent 80%).

    And stop always beating the public servant, without them a country is nothing ! Go living in albania, i’m pretty sure the public servant number is one of the lowest in the continent !


  34. keeptalkinggreece

    ha! LOL I’ve lived in germany and I know how public servants should at least look like.

  35. I agree … I lived in Berlin too, and currently doing bizness with germany 😉
    But that was not the subject, and you go in my direction : problem comes from organisation, not from a supposedly high number of public servant !

  36. ok, so reorganise that we end up with a system allowing a photocopy to be made by 1 person. What are you going to do with the 2 others from my experience?

  37. Send them to my dimarxeio, because there is so much need for people that everything is stalled, and it’s impossible to do nothing !
    1 person only for 5 villages, 5000 persons total, it’s a nightmare to make paperwork !


  38. Fx

    I’m just wondering, what’s the average property value and the average bank account balance possessed by Greek public servants?

  39. … Euh? Where have you been last few years?

    The Greek can’t afford to keep them employed. You are broke. You go bust if you don’t fire them. The bank will not lend you money anymore. It’s not a matter of estimation. Let me shout it out (yes, i know: capital letters are impolite 😉


    Your reaction only tells me one thing: You don’t understand how serious the situation is. Please wake up and smell the coffee.

  40. “Send them to my dimarxeio, because there is so much need for people that everything is stalled, and it’s impossible to do nothing !
    1 person only for 5 villages, 5000 persons total, it’s a nightmare to make paperwork”

    That would indeed be a possible solution, but then, decentralization has it’s own problems. Relocation is never easy, especially not if it involves people with families. It usually turns out to be very expensive in terms of compensation payments to entise people to re-locate, and in the vast majority of the cases leaves a lot of resentment with the re-locatees, despite the compensation. That, in turn, leads to below-par performance by the re-locatee. That is the Irish experience with decentralization. Very expensive, and not exactly value for money.
    Just wonder, why call for relocaton of people in the first place? Why not call for employement of locals to do those local jobs so badly needed? I’m very sure you have your fair share of unemployed people running around the place who would be only too happy to take the job?

  41. you wake up !
    300k is alomost 50% of public servant ! Considering that Greece is a country with the lowest number of public servant (did you know it ? Almost as low as in the USA), firing half of them would give you a 9% public employees, that’s a number never seen nowhere in the world, even in the most liberals countries … explains me then how it will work ???


  42. unemployment is so high here, you would double the number of public servant of whole greece 😉
    And I can already hear the complaints of : troika, lagarde, merkel, schlaube, you, KTG … ooohhh, too much to endure for me 😉
    There is so much more important thing to do immediately, lire firing people, lowering wages, applying solution that visibly don’t work … so you see, no time for the real problems here !

    Although I’ll tell you. I’m living primarily with export. My 2 biggest nightmare : obtain any paperwork, and shipping abroad (because the post offices closes one after the other, I must do 40km to ship. Forget the private company like UPS/genikitaxidromiki/TNT/… because it work even more bad).
    For the tourist, it’s a little bit different : no information/tourism office, road in pitiful condition, no health center aroud, and almost no exhibition/animation (although that year in Kastro Kyllinis, it’s better than the previous year, canno’t complain ! ) …

    Anyway, I can guess that relocation is not easy, but unemployment is not either !
    So what we do now ? Continue applying the same “solution” like we are doing since two years ?


  43. If 9% public servants can produce a better, more efficient service, is there any reason not to do so?
    You seem to be suggesting that somehow the civil service must be a certain percentage of population in order to function properly?
    On the contrary. The civil service everywhere is used as a sponge. When things go bad, the civil service grows, when things go well, it shrinks. It’s a way of massaging unemployment figures, just like compulsary military conscription is. It makes the bad figures look less bad, but doesn’t actually do anything for the overall productivity of a country. It is also a way of buying votes and loyalty for certain politicians or political parties…

  44. Fx

    In my humble opinion the pay cuts should come from Greek citizens who can afford reductions in their annual incomes. That is, a formula should be devised such as the % of monthly salary or pension cuts to be a function of F {annual income, property [house(s),car(s),land (s), company ownership, etc.] values, bank account balances, stock, bond and foreign currency holdings}.

  45. a bit like “deemed income” you mean? We’ll tell you how much you earn, tax you on it, and if you don’t agree, prove us wrong…

  46. Greece does have a high percentage of public servants for the population it has. I do not know who supplied the figure to the OECD about Greece having the lowest percentage public service but i don’t think it is correct.

    Sweden has a similar population as that of Greece but a much smaller public service force.

    In the late 1980’s early 1990’s Australia had a problem with it’S Public Sector. To many of them and with some of them doing nothing. Just a waste of money. So the Australian government reduced it’s public service and trained the remaining to muliti skill.

    In Greece the Public Service in the villages is not the problem. It is in the Big Cities like Athens and Thessaloniki. Where they have too many, because with contacts they avoid being relocated.

    A public servant is a servant to the public, and they should go where ever they are needed. And to actually work. Not to “Na Hafti Miges”.

    I know for a fact that the public servant get a good pay, i have relatives in the public service. And they act like ases because of it and think they are above others. And will get their pension at age 50. So they can live like Pashathes for the rest of their lives. While i will probably work to age 75. And hope that i will have a pension.

  47. If the number is stable all around the world, then there must be a reason, don’t you think ?
    Call it balance or invisible hand, that’s the same. Anyway that was not meant : public servant number is NOT the problem of Greece, at most a consequence of the problem !
    So SOLVE THE REAL PROBLEMS FIRST, not the consequences !


  48. “You seem to be suggesting that somehow the civil service must be a certain percentage of population in order to function properly?”

    Sorry, but that sentence seem VERY logicial, no need to be a fine analyst to get that conclusion !


  49. Sorry, but that sentence seem VERY logicial, no need to be a fine analyst to get that conclusion

    there is absolutely nothing logical about the suggestion that it must be a certain percetage of population. That is precisely the logic that results in “no change”, or “status quo”. The primary driver for the size of a civil service, or any other service, is to deliver a top quality service at the least cost, and that means, in the vast majority of cases, a change of mindset of those delivering the service, not an extra body to press the extra button.