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Greek pension bill stirs controversy

06-26-2010 09:03 BJT

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Greece's controversial pension bill has been submitted to parliament, after the cabinet ministers unanimously agreed to raise the retirement age and cut pension benefits.

The bill has faced criticism from both the opposition and labor unions.

The new bill aims to overhaul Greece's pension system, one of the cornerstones of an economic austerity programme agreed with the EU and the IMF. The cabinet unanimously approved the pension reform bill during a meeting on Friday and then submitted it to parliament.

Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou told parliament the pension reform bill will be necessary for saving the country.

George Papandreou, Greek Prime Minister, said, "We are on the right road, we still have major challenges and changes to make and we will make them, and the country will move forward."

The ruling party has 157 of the 300 seats in parliament and the reform bill is likely to pass though it has met domestic criticism.

Alexander Tsipras, Leader of Opposition Syriza Party, said, "A country cannot be saved from bankruptcy by bankrupting two million households - through the choices you are making. The truth is what is really bankrupt is this rescue package which is also your bankruptcy politically."

Opinion polls show a very large majority of Greeks oppose the reform, which will cut benefits, curb widespread early retirement, increase the number of contribution years, and set one retirement age for both men and women.

Protester, said, "They are eradicating all of the workers' pension, social security and labor rights. We won't let them pass this."

Labor unions warn they will stage a 24-hour general strike against the pension and labor reform plans on June 29th.

 

Editor:Zhang Pengfei |Source: CCTV.com

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