Pensioners’ Union in Serbia: Many of us die sick and hungry

NEWS 08.02.2021 13:15
milan grabundžija Sindikat penzionera Nezavisnost

One or two-time financial aid to pensioners is not a permanent solution since retired people don't live for a month, Milos Grabundzija, Serbia's a representative of the Pensioners Independent Union, told N1 on Monday.

„Many (pensioners) die sick and hungry; during the coronavirus epidemic, I’ve seen hospitals full of old people who don’t have anything to eat at home, no one to visit them in hospitals, they have nothing,“ he added.

„Only permanent solution to the pensioners’ finances can have results,“ Grabundzija said, referring to the state’s occasional aid to the oldest population.

„Only they know how they live. I’ve heard many saying: ‘One month I buy medicines, the next I pay the bills.’ It kills old people – as if retirees are to blame for all the troubles of this world. They have earned their fair share through their working life, but now the media climate is being created that they are to blame for everything,“ he added.

Commenting on the latest increase of pensions by 5.9 percent according to the Swiss formula, Grabundzija said that though the percentage „sounds impressive,“ the retires with less than 255 Euro a month received a minimum rise.

„We believe that the state should introduce a kind of a national or social allowance for those with less than 255 Euro a month. Because, the current adjustment always go in favour of those with the higher pensions,“ he warned.

Grabundzija recalled that the pensioners addressed the European Court of Human Rights after Serbia reduced their income to consolidate the budget, but alleged that Belgrade made a deal with a judge. The request had not been refused, but it was said Serbia’s pensioners were not in that bad situation.

He said the pensioners had addressed other institutions „to get a new debate on the issue before the grand panel, not a single judge.“

Grabundzija added the damage to pensioners with less than 255 Euro a month amounted to a billion Euro in four years of the reduced pensions from 2014 to 2018.

According to him, the sum was supposed to be returned in instalments in the same way it had been reduced.

Since that hadn’t happened, the Union would suggest to the European Parliament to pass a resolution on the issue, Grabundzija said.

Official data for the last year show there were 1,707,434 retired people in Serbia and that 52.3 percent of them had up to 255 Euro a month.

The Government promised a total of 110 Euro aid to pensioners in 2021.