Greek parliament rejects pension law referendum call

The Greek government on Wednesday defeated in parliament an opposition bid to call a referendum on a controversial pension reform law that has triggered mass protests.

Greek parliament rejects pension law referendum call
All 151 government deputies and one independent legislator voted against the motion to hold a referendum, 146 voted in favour and 2 abstained.

The referendum motion had little real chance of success as it needed a total of 180 votes in the 300-seat house, but its tabling has delayed the final procedural steps for the law to take effect.

The government says the reforms aim to overhaul a social security system, which some experts say could collapse in 15 years if left unchanged. The pension reform law was passed through parliament 10 days ago.

"Our aim is to solve this long-standing problem," said Labour Minister Fani Petralia before the start of the vote. "The situation is that some pension funds will soon be unable to pay out pensions."

Private and public sector unions have pledged more strikes to protest against the law they say curbs benefits, increases retirement age and ups contributions to pension funds.

The new law affects mostly women and in particular working mothers. It merges scores of funds into just 13, cuts many special and supplementary pensions and offers incentives to work more years.

Greece, one of several European countries facing a pension crisis due to an ageing population, has been urged by Brussels to revamp its social security system.

Last Mod: 03 Nisan 2008, 15:32
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