|April 27, 2018 -- Thousands of Greek pensioners took to the streets of Athens on Wednesday to protest a new planned round of cuts to payouts scheduled for 2019 under bailout agreements with Greece's international lenders.
Although Greece is due to exit this summer the third bailout program since 2010, harsh austerity policies and bold reforms will continue under the agreements, a prospect which does not please the retirees who have seen their pensions shrinking to half in many cases the past eight years.
Based on laws voted by the parliament the past three years, pensioners will suffer a further 18-percent cut in auxiliary pensions from the new year.
As about one in two pensioners currently, according to official data, supports with monthly pensions as low as 700 euros ($852) entire families, because children and grandchildren are jobless for several months or years, the new blow will be severe for many Greek households, protesters said.
"We request what they have taken away. We have worked hard and they took away so much. There seems to be no end in the pay cuts," Panagiotis T., one of the protesting pensioners told Xinhua on Wednesday.
"Since I received my pension for first time in 2010 I have lost about one third of my income to pay cuts," he said.
"Pensioners will continue the struggle. We will not allow anybody to go ahead with such laws which are against the interests of workers and pensioners, and have reduced pensions to more than half," Panagiotis Tsichlis, President of the Pensioners of Aghia Paraskevi district in Athens told Xinhua.
"Otherwise, we will all end up as beggars. This is it. We will continue our mobilization in the near future. There is no other way than protesting," he said.
Pensioners will be back on the streets again on Labor Day on May 1st and plan at least three more rallies until mid June, he added.