Reversing Itself, Greece’s High Court Strikes Down Workers Bonuses

(Photo by Eurokinissi/Yiannis Panagopoulos)

ATHENS – After declaring that state workers were entitled to the return of two months annual holiday bonuses ended under austerity measures, Greece’s highest administrative court now said elimination of the benefit was Constitutional.

The Council of State that was because of a pressing national interest after saying it wasn’t and previously saying it was, continuing to see-saw but the ruling the bonuses were legal and can’t be paid back retroactively is final and binding, said Kathimerini.

Before the country’s economic crisis began in 2010, requiring successive governments to seek what turned into three international bailouts of 326 billion euros ($365.46 billion), public workers got two weeks bonuses at Easter and in the summer and a full month for the Christmas holiday period.

The judges said the decision to abolish the so-called 13th and 14th salaries was made “with full knowledge of the average living standards of the country’s population and specifically of the living standards of civil servants.”

It added that the wages of public sector workers, even after cuts, “secured a dignified living standard,” although it didn’t, devastating the lives of many except for politicians and tax cheats who escaped the crisis.