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Greece’s pensioners protest further pension cuts of up to 18%

Hundreds of pensioners took to the streets of downtown Athens on Tuesday morning to protest the upcoming further cuts in their pensions. Pensioners from the private and public sector demand that the so-called Katrougalos law is not implemented, fearing that they will lose two to three month pensions in a year.

On Sunday, Deputy Minister for Social Security, Tasos Petropoulos, confirmed that further pension cuts will go into effect as of 1 January 2019. The minister said that the cuts will affect also pensions below 1,000 euros per month.

According to the Deputy Minister, pensions will be cut as much as 18 percent in some cases. However, the cuts also apply to supplementary benefits and will only apply to 25-30 percent of pensioners. Petropoulos also expressed his conviction that very few people on low pensions will be affected by the fresh cutσ.

“900,000 pensions will undergo cuts of up to 18%,” the minister said adding that the [maximum] of 18% cut refers to a 25-30% of a total of 2.9 million pensions.

Some pensions will be cut by 200 euros, he explained.

The Deputy Minister said the government will be in a position to know the exact figures in October and will subsequently look to make improvements. “We have seven months ahead of us [to look at] pensions” Petropoulos stated.

According to the Deputy Minister, pensions will be cut as much as 18 percent in some cases. However, the cuts also apply to supplementary benefits and will only apply to 25-30 percent of pensioners. Petropoulos also expressed his conviction that very few people on low pensions will be affected by the additional cuts.

Some pensioners saw their annual income reduced by more of 50% in the 8 years of bailout programs.

Although some Greeks, mainly civil servants and former utility companies employees, were receiving disproportional high pensions, low pensioners saw the poverty allowance (EKAS) disappear, while the Katrougalos law scraps pensions to widows below 55 years old and decrease widow pension from 75% of the spouse pension to 50%.

For example: the full pension of a sailor in the private sector was 1,900 euro. In the first bailout years, the cuts brought it down to 1,300 euro. Now the widow receives 650 euros.

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