2,500 demonstrate in Athens against reform

Athens, January 16

Around 2,500 people demonstrated in Athens today to condemn a planned overhaul of Greece’s pension system demanded by its international creditors, police said.

Adedy public sector union said in a statement the march on Syntagma square, next to parliament, was called to say ‘no to the dissolution of the security system’.

“So long as those in power fail to understand, the workers will take to the streets,” read the banner of the main private-sector union, GSEE.

Greece is under pressure from its creditors in the European Union and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to reduce spending on pensions which is the highest in the European Union.

Greek unions have announced a general strike — the third in as many months — on February 4 over the reforms.

The country’s leftist government has announced plans to lower the maximum pension to 2,300 euros from 2,700 euros currently, and introduce a new minimum guaranteed basic pension of 384 euros.

It also wants to increase social security contributions by both employers and staff.

Greece must save 1.8 billion euros from state spending on pensions under a three-year bailout signed with the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the IMF in July.