Civil servants including teachers and police personnel called on Friday for talks with the government over a new pension plan, warning they would not agree to any unilateral decisions being imposed.
The matter was discussed by civil servants’ union Pasydy, teachers’ unions Oelmek, Poed, Oltek and the police association (SAK) in a joint meeting.
Pasydy head Glafcos Hadjipetrou said they were not seeking to restore the old pension scheme, abolished in 2011 due to the looming economic crisis, but a new one in line with the ones that apply in other countries.
Changing the pension plan has been a standing demand by state employees as those who entered the civil service after 2011 don’t have the same benefits as those who were employed earlier.
Cabinet had decided due to the financial crisis to abolish the pension fund for new entrants to the civil service and replace it with a provident fund.
Hadjipetrou said his union rejects the introduction of a provident fund.
He added that those who entered the civil service prior to 2011 did not pay any pension contributions and that their monthly pension and the lump sum they receive after retirement was based on their last salary.
“Our argument is that the retirement age has changed; it used to be between 55 and 60, now it is up to 65. All this changes many things,” Hadjipetrou said.
He added that civil servants now pay pension contributions while those serving prior to 2011 do not.
He clarified that unions were not demanding to have the old system restored, but a new one, albeit similar to the previous one with assurances that it will also include pension and lump sum “but with some modifications”.
Pasydy is already preparing an actuarial study, he said.
“Through a good faith dialogue, we will find the right solutions […] because a person working all their lives in the public service must have a decent pension for the last years of their life,” Hadjipetrou said.
He warned however that they will not agree to any unilateral decisions on the matter by the state.
Teachers said their unions would also seek to meet with the education minister to discuss the pension plan.