Greek government passes austerity bill
The Greek parliament passed an austerity bill last night worth €17 billion. The new 2013-2016 Medium-Term Fiscal Strategy which was tabled on Monday and which runs to 600 pages included dramatic changes to wages, pensions and benefits for public sector workers as well as cuts in the healthcare sector and government redundancies.
Whilst the 14 hour debate was taking place in parliament, outside the parliament there were massive protests against the austerity measures and pitch battles with police.
The bill was passed by 153 votes for to 128 votes against in the 300 seat parliament. Some of the measures introduced are as follows:
• Abolition of extra bonuses to pensions and civil servants
• Introduction of further pension cuts of up to 25%
• Cutting of special payrolls by up to 27% for police, judiciary, military officers, hospitals medical staff, university lecturers and diplomats
• Abolition of state-allocated social benefits and replaces it with benefits based on income criteria
• Introduction of a 3% to 27% retroactive cut in special payrolls
• From 1st January 2013 to end of 2016 a freeze on payment of all target-related incentives to public sector workers
• Setting of a €1,900 ceiling on wages of all state employees in agencies/organisations
• Reduction of wages of employees in municipal or regional councils
• Starts the process of cutting 2,000 civil service jobs
• Private sector pensions to be cut by up to 25%
• Retirement age to go up by two years
• Abolition of extra pension bonuses to public sector pensioners
• Greater liberalisation of professions and service industry such as auditors, mini-van tourist services by hotels, accountants, private education, dental technicians, truck leasing services and others
• €25 admission fee paid by patient for admission to a state hospital from 2014
• 85% of drugs to be prescribed by naming their active ingredients or chemical name rather than a specific brand name in an effort to reduce the cost of pharmaceuticals.