More than 2,000 active and retired members of the Greek Armed Forces wearing their uniforms gathered at Kolokotroni Square in Athens on Wednesday afternoon to protest upcoming cuts in their wages and pensions.
In their first ever protest rally and holding banners the uniformed protesters marched to the Finance Ministry nearby to hand out a list with their demands.
In a statement calling their colleagues to join the protest the members of the Greek Land, Air Force and the Navy stressed:
“During 2009-2012 our incomce suffered cuts between 52.5% and 79.7%. We call you to join the protest wearing uniform together with your family.”
The uniformed protesters got the support from left-wing SYRIZA, national INDEPDENTEND GREEKS, extreme-right Chrysi Avgi (Golden Dawn) who sent elected MPs to the protest.
According to Greek military news portal OnAlert, there were efforts to avert the military personnel from joining the protest by spreading rumors that the legal department of the GAF was seeking ways to declare the protest as “illegal”.
The membes of the Greek Armed Forces said, they would continue their protests.
According to military associations, with the new austerity measures, the salary of military personnel will go down to 700-1,200 euro net per month. Consequently, a 40-year military family is estimated to have to live on 950 euro.
According to the lieutenant Vasilis Gkavardinas:
“Since the beginning of the crisis in 2010 bonuses were reduced, time-allowances were frozen, all allowances were decreased, the tax-free amount was reduced too. The result was a 35% reduction in our income on the average. With new upcoming reductions in “special payrolls”, the elimination of the remaining Christmas/Easter and Holiday bonuses and the elimination of travel expenses will lead to an overall reduction of over 50%. That is the wages of the military will go down to 700-1200 euro. Therefore the salary for the family of a military of 40 years old [20+ years of service] will be around 950 euro.
Minus the rent many military families pay [ 300 euro] as they are bound to frequent relocation, a military family will have to live on 650 euro per month.”
Just like the pensioners….