Dep. social insurances minister: No issue of retroactive returns to all pensioners

Monday, 05 November 2018 11:46

A relevant deputy social insurances minister on Monday alluded to reasons of "public interest" in precluding the retroactive return of previously cut pension benefits to all affected beneficiaries in Greece.

Deputy Minister Tassos Petropoulos was the latest top Cabinet member, in lieu of a still tight-lipped Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos, to comment on the issue of retroactive pension returns, days after a first instance court in Thessaloniki ruled in favor of six municipal workers. The litigants claimed that a 2013 austerity measure eliminating so-called "holiday bonuses" - which equaled another two monthly salaries on an annual basis - was unconstitutional.

According to reports, the six defendants were granted total damages of roughly 2,000 euros plus interest.

In a bid to preclude the specter of a major overturning over social security system reforms and an accompanying fiscal "train wreck", Petropoulos said the Council of State (CoS) ruled that only pensioners that have sought recourse to the legal system and won a judgment have a right to claim damages.

Media reports at the beginning of this week referred to thousands of retirees once employed in the public sector were filing paperwork for legal challenges.

Petropoulos, an attorney by training who previously represented labor groups against the state and social security funds, said a CoS decision on the matter ruled that a maximum 16.2-percent ceiling in Greece's annual GDP for social security spending has been ruled constitutional. As such, he predicted in an appearance on the state broadcaster, that any other judicial decision for a return of benefits for all pensioners will clash with the law.

He also insinuated that some law firms are merely "fishing" for customers, in referring to widespread speculation in the country that pension cuts will be reversed in the courts.

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