Fight against the new pension system reform bill!Posted: January 29, 2016
THE GOVERNMENTS’ MONSTROSITY WILL NOT PASS
DECENT PUBLIC HEALTHCARE AND PENSIONS FOR ALL
The governments’ plan for the insurance system is a deeply unpopular bill which demolishes what social character was left in the insurance system, converts insurance into an individuals’ obligation, brutally cuts pensions and consolidates the insured in poverty. The measures it includes are the starting point of the negotiations with the creditors’ quartet. If this is the starting point we can imagine how much worse the conclusion will be…
It is a brutal neoliberal reform and a worthy continuation of the policies of ND and PASOK.
The basic philosophy of the bill is that everyone is responsible for their own insurance. If you have spent periods in unemployment or doing undeclared or flexible work… bad luck! Maybe at some point, at a very old age you get a pension of 300 Euros.
The bill builds upon the reactionary framework set by all the previous governments which remains intact (Loverdos-Koutroumanis law etc)
It will lead – especially – young workers to undeclared work and will open the way for private insurance companies as in the current context of long-term unemployment and flexible labor nobody can hope to complete 40 years of insurance in order to get a small pension!
WHAT THE BILL INCLUDES
A. CONSOLIDATION IN POVERTY
1. It proposes reductions to main and supplementary pensions of 15-30% for the large majority of the insured and those who have already retired. The reduction comes from a) the much lower base of calculation of the “pensionable earnings” as they are calculated on the basis of the total insurance life. b) the lower “replacement rate” which falls to 46% (from 70% and 90% in the past) for the “proportional pension” for 40 years of work. c) the abolition of all funds and their specific provisions. The bill abolishes the minimum pension. Even the measly allowance of 284 Euros (gross pay) is not given whole before the completion of 67 years (until then it is slashed by 6% a year) and is slashed by 25% even for people with a disability rate over 67%! For the already retired the 13th and 14th pensions are abolished – and the government has the audacity to say that it does not reduce pensions.
2. Cuts to supplementary pensions. Cuts will start at 8% and reach between 15% and 30% in some cases so that approximately 200 million Euros are directly saved. In the future supplementary pensions will be calculated based on “demographic data” and “life expectancy” hence they will be decreased even more. Cutback and abolishment of the EKAS. Higher income criteria are adopted as a result of which it is lost for 70,000 poor pensioners so that 223 million Euros are saved until its’ final abolition in 2019. Large additional cuts to pensions in the public sector. Reductions up to 40% to public dividends so that expenditure is cut by 146 million Euros. Reductions between 10% and 15% to the new lump sum so that expenditure is reduced by 87 million euros.
B. INCREASE OF TOTAL YEARS OF WORK
3. The bill leads to increase of years that are required for retirement (abolishment of special regimes or retirement in the Public sector or favourable provision of several funds). It is not far from reality that teachers in kindergarten classes will be 70 years old, whilst in the private sector, employees are forced to early retirements with extremely
C. ATTACK ON THE SELF-EMPLOYED, FARMERS AND EMPLOYEES WHO PROVIDE SERVICES
4. The bill is related to harsh measures against the employees who work under the regime of Bulletin of Provision of Services. The total social security contributions that they must pay account for 38.5% of their income! This is added to the onerous taxation (26% of their revenues). All these lead to a huge deterioration of living standards of the young scientists who work under the regime of Bulletin of Provision of Services and the self-employed. The farmers face the same problems, as their contributions will be tripled!
D. THE COST OF PENSION SYSTEM REFORM IS CALLED TO BE PAID BY THE WORKERS
5. The bill also calls for an increase in contributions for secondary pensions up to 1.5% (1% will be paid by the employers and 0.5% by the employees) in order to increase pension funds’ revenues up to €346 million. The employers sacrifice, in short-term, a minimum of the huge reduction of their contributions (down to 4.9%), applied by the previous Samaras’ government, in order to politically support the current government for passing pension system reform bill. By and large, the workers will pay the increase.
THE LIES OF THE GOVERNMENT DO NOT CONVINCE ANYONE!
The government accuses Samaras and Venizelos, the previous governments, of the huge deterioration of pension system conditions. The governors state that “the reform is necessary given that in 5 years we will be not be able to provide pensions” in the wake of “high pensions and great imbalances”, continuing a previous rhetoric, of ex-minister Pagkalos, which claimed that “it was the mentality, the attitude and the practices of all the people in Greece that has led to the bad performance of the Greek economy, the corruption, the bribery and the great spending of public money for personal use”. It is a common knowledge that pension funds went bankrupt by the spending of their reserves, during the last decades. The causes were the illegal loans, with the great support of the State, that banks were providing, even with negative interest rate, the €70 billion that were plundered, the €tens of billions that were lost by the haircut of the Greek State bonds that the pension funds were holding, and by the money of the pension funds that were used in pay-off previous debt and interest rates to IMF in 2015. The bad conditions of pension system were also caused by the huge unemployment rate, which creates and stimulates the capitalist crisis around the globe, by the contributions’ evasion of the employers, by the informal employment and shadow economy and by the Stage programs in both the private and public sector.
In this context, the government does not deal with any of these; it just attacks on the workers and young people by cutting the expenditures towards the pension system down to €1.8 billion, destroying their life.
Our needs and the interests of the working class are in complete contrast to the barbarian rationale of the capital, the IMF-EU-ECB-ESM and their governments. The social security, the care, the dignified pension are social rights. We fight to take back the wealth that we produce, which the faster it grows the more quickly it is concentrated in capital hands.
SHOULDN’T BE VOTED – FIGHT NOW
Our fight is for a public and decent pension scheme:
- SYRIZA-ANEL government’s policy should be defeated along with EU-ECB-ESM-IMF. Pension scheme is a human right, not a market product. Exclusively public pension scheme based on social needs, accessible to everyone with no pre-conditions.
- Minimum pension equal to basic salary. All cuts from 2009 in pensions and salaries to be banned. Give us back the 13th and 14th main and auxiliary pension. We say NO to the demolishment of current pension organisations.
- Retirement at the age of 60 for men and 55 for women, or after 30 years of employment. Retirement at the age of 55 for men and 50 for women for hazardous occupations. Significant reduction of unemployment is feasible only by reducing the retirement age.
- Full pension and healthcare cover for the unemployed and part-time employee. Ban every form of flexible and unsafe contracts.
- Employers and the state should pay for the pension cost of their employees, and the unemployed too. Ban the employee’s deduction for health services. Banks, employees and the State must return back to the Pension Organisations accounts the stolen money. Pension Organisations accounts should not participate in any form of gambling.
- We ask for protection of the self-employed and farmers’ pensions.
- Give equal pension and employment rights to the immigrants.
Our fight for a decent pension scheme is a fight against the capital, EU and IMF. The referendum experience showed that within the EU and the Eurozone limits, the memoranda can’t be defeated. Out of the Eurozone is the alternative way. Rupture with employers and investors terms, who basically aim for no pensions, to maximise their profit. Workers should take charge of the banks and the large companies to ensure that employers and the state pay their deductions instead of destroying people pensions. We shall win. Tsipras will end up like the former Minister of Pensions, Mr Giannitsis, who was banned from his Ministry back in 2003 after trying to impose a much lighter pension scheme reform.
ATHENS, JANUARY 2016