Court Rules that Pensioners’ Cut 13th-14th Pensions Should Be Returned in Full

FILE - Pensioners sit outside a shoe shop as they take part in a rally near the Finance Ministry in central Athens, on Wednesday, April 25, 2018. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

THESSALONIKI – A Thessaloniki first-instance court on Tuesday ruled that austerity cuts scrapping the 13th and 14th pensions were illegal and ordered the pension funds involved to return the money, amounting to 11,184 euros, in full to 70-year-old pensioner Odysseas Tsologiannis.

A first suit filed by Tsologiannis against the cuts had been thrown out because he had no legal counsel but after he retained a lawyer and filed a second suit, the first was also taken into account, he explained.

Talking to the Athens-Macedonian News Agency (ANA), Tsologiannis said that he had decided to sue after his pension was slashed from 14 payments of 2,000 euros in a year to under half that at present, starting with the abolition of the 13th and 14th pensions (summer and Christmas bonus) amounting to 4000 euros a year.

“Now I am at the point where I get one thousand, while my supplementary pension has dropped from 562 euros [a month] to 130 euros,” he said.

He noted that the court has also awarded him 100 euros in moral damages for the period from January 1, 2013 and July 23, 2015.

Tsologiannis expressed the belief that the pension funds will not have the right to appeal against the court’s decision since it was based on a Council of State ruling. He said he would continue to sue over the cuts because “they are continuing to withhold money, even in laws where I was vindicated”.

He also urged other pensioners to file suits against the pension funds EFKA and ETEAEP as he had done, saying that the court would be obliged to find in their favour since his case would act as a precedent.

EFKA has appealed against the decision and the case will be examined at a higher level by the Thessaloniki Administrative Appeals Court. Legal experts, however, note that the specific ruling might act as a precedent for similar cases in the future.