Greek MP’s Protect Selves From Pay Cuts

ATHENS – As they vote in harsh austerity measures for Greeks – apart from Parliament workers who have been exempted after threatening to strike – Greek lawmakers are taking in big bucks too, according to details on the body’s website.

Greek parliamentarians will receive up to 8,028 euros ($10,809) per month next year in gross wages and expenses while they have been approving big pay cuts, tax hikes, slashed pensions and worker firings.

A lawmaker’s monthly pay and benefits now amount to almost 25 times basic pensions – which are likely to be further cut next year as the lawmakers’ salaries are being largely insulated from further sacrifice.

The breakdown of MPs’ salaries was made public after Parliament’s budget for 2014 was approved by the House, even though the fiscal blueprint received support only the ruling New Democracy Conservatives and their coalition partner, the PASOK Socialists.

The budget foresees Parliament’s spending being reduced by 6.8 million euros next year but the fact that MPs’ salaries are not going to be affected prompted criticism of lawmakers.

Parliament’s website revealed that MPs from Athens and Thessaloniki will receive 7,644 euros gross ($10,293) per month. This however includes their allowance for office, postal and travel expenses. MPs from the Cyclades and Dodecanese islands can claim 8,028 euros ($10,810).

The gross parliamentary allowance for Members is 5,705.60 ($7,682) each per month. For each of the 300 representatives of the nation, 909.31 euros ($1,224) were added to their income for mailing expenses.

Members of the Parliament also receive an allowance for office organization that amounts to 738.88 euros although it’s as high as 935.88 euros for some  other members because of increased costs that may be needed for organizing an office in other constituencies.

Reportedly, different amounts of money are provided for travel expenses to Members of Parliament, depending on their constituency and ranging from 291 to 648 euros a month. Lawmakers are also paid bonuses for attending committee meetings.