GREECE – Greek bank workers have clashed with police during a strike about pensions, according to a union official.

The one-day strike yesterday was called by the Federation of Bank Employees to overturn a recent law that changes the structure of the sector’s supplementary pension system.

The confrontations took place outside the headquarters of Emporiki Bank, which is 45% state-owned.

No arrests were made but brawls resulted in OTOE’s president Dimitri Tsoukalas being “beaten up”, according an OTOE official.

The official told IPE: “There has been a lot of trouble, Mr Tsoukalas was there and was beaten up. It was unbelievable”. The official explained that police had tried to keep strikers from entering the bank building.

This strike follows a 23-day walkout in June and coincided with a meeting of Emporiki shareholders that was called to discuss transferring the bank’s sub-pension funds into a new single fund.

The new fund would replace the banking system’s current 10 sub-funds. It was created by a law passed last month but is opposed by OTOE, which has been lobbying for bankers alone to finance the single fund.

Last week Tsoukalas told IPE that the changes would imply lower pensions for employees and would give personnel different pension deals depending on joining date.

“The paradox is that the state will pay for pensioners of the private sector,” OTOE’s executive committee said in a statement. “OTOE believes that the state shouldn't interfere with issues of supplementary pensions.”

Emporiki’ spokesman Mr Psaltis was not available for comment.