Former New Democracy Minister Sees Another 25% Pensions Cut

New Democracy lawmaker Yannis Vroutsis. (Photo by EUROKINISSI/Tatiana Bolari)

ATHENS – Another round of pension cuts coming in 2019 from the ruling Radical Left SYRIZA-led coalition will be as high as 25 percent, said a former labor minister for the major opposition New Democracy which has built a big lead in polls over the ruling Radical Left SYRIZA-led coalition.

With Greek pensioners since austerity measures began in 2010 having seen their monthly benefit and lump sums already cut as much as 38 percent with Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, breaking vows, agreeing to slash them more to get a third bailout from international lenders in 2015, this one for 86 billion euros ($100.88 billion).

New Democracy’s Yannis Vroutsis told a radio station that the 2019 cuts will take away as much as the equivalent of three months benefits after most civil servants – Parliament workers were exempted because they said they’d strike otherwise – had already lost two months annual holiday bonuses workers had been receiving.

With his popularity plummeting, Tsipras is frantically trying to wiggle out of the new round of cuts with elections required before October, 2019 and the prospect they could be held as soon as May so he can stave off even more losses in surveys and with disenchanted voters.

Vroutsis claimed that roughly 490,000 public sector pensioners will lose three monthly payments, per year, after 2019 and that they will face a double whammy with a lowering of the tax-free threshold that could see some taxed higher on lower benefits, although surrender Tsipras made to the Troika of the European Union-European Central Bank-European Stability Mechanism.