Greek Pensioners Crash Pension Fund Board Meeting, Form Lines At Bank

Tyler Durden's picture

On Thursday we noted that no matter how tempting it may be to tune out the almost hourly warnings from various sources claiming Greece is finally set to run out of cash, one can’t just assume the government will yet again find another couch cushion to reach into in order to scrape up a few more euros to pay government employees and creditors and thereby forestall the inevitable for another few weeks. Eventually, there simply will be no more money and the first signs that Greece has entered the final, terminal phase in the long and painful road to complete insolvency showed up last month in the form of a sweeping decree which required municipalities to transfer excess cash to the central bank. 

That mandate was greeted with incredulity and with the country’s local governments less than willing to turn over their funds, Athens finally ran out of money (if only for 8 or so hours) on Tuesday when pensioners showed up at ATMs only to discover that their money simply was not there. Amusingly, the government blamed the delay on a “technical glitch”, and while we suppose it’s not exactly a lie to call running out of money a “technical glitch”, it was abundantly clear that the country’s socialist saviors were making a feeble attempt to avert a pensioner mutiny. Today, we get more details about the situation and sure enough, the retirees are restless. 

Via The Australian:

Panicking pensioners queued at banks, raided their accounts and broke into a board meeting of the state pension fund as Greece struggled to pay its two million pension recipients.


Officials claimed that a “technical hitch” had delayed some payments as Greece braced itself to run out of money in days without a breakthrough from secret talks in Brussels…


The country’s state pension funds almost defaulted after a shortfall of “several hundred million euros” delayed payments to pensioners this week. Many people panicked when they discovered that their pension payments were not in their accounts.


“Normally I only withdraw half the money at the end of the month but today I’m taking it all,” said Sotiria Zlatini, 75, a former civil servant. “There are so many rumours going round.”


In a sign of public discontent, pensioners broke into a board meeting of the state pension fund demanding that it stop transferring cash reserves to the government under an emergency decree to keep the country solvent.

Meanwhile, Syriza remains stuck between insolvency and its campaign promises and it now appears that the government’s “red lines” may once again undercut the negotiating process just when it appeared that some progress (whatever that means at this point) was possible over the weekend. Here’s Bloomberg:

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras told his cabinet on Thursday that he’s confident a deal to unlock bailout aid is close, even as his government sent conflicting signals on its willingness to agree on long-stalled reforms.


Tsipras addressed his ministers as Greece and its euro-area partners stepped up talks in a bid to reach a preliminary deal by May 3, ahead of looming debt payments in early May, three people with knowledge of the talks said earlier. The aim would be for finance ministers to sign off on the accord by their next scheduled meeting on May 11, the officials said, asking not to be named because the talks are private…


One European Union official cautioned that at the moment getting a technical deal by Sunday looked optimistic. Hard and long negotiations will take place over the coming days, with more talks planned for next week. Even so, reaching a comprehensive agreement by May 11 remains unlikely, the official said.


An agreement could still stumble at opposition within Tsipras’s government. In a sign of the obstacles yet to overcome for a deal, Tsipras told his ministers that any agreement would be in line with the popular mandate as expressed by the government’s “red lines” in the talks, according to Sakellaridis. The remark echoed a statement by Greece’s Finance Ministry on Wednesday that the government “retains red lines” in the negotiations, which include a sales tax on islands, pension and labor market reforms and asset sales.


Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis on Thursday said Greece wouldn’t discuss pension cuts or the sales tax increase in the current talks, with any pension reform being part of a broader agreement in June.

Despite the red line rhetoric, Tsipras admits that a referedndum may be necessary on a possible deal with creditors which essentially means that in a worst case scenario, Athens may have to make concessions that are inconsistent with the 'annihilate all austerity' line that got Syriza elected.

The problem, as we noted earlier this week, is that two out of three Greeks aren't interested in a referendum. Of course they're also not interested in leaving the euro... or in implementing further austerity measures in order to get a bailout... or in empty ATMs.

We wish them the best of luck. 

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Vol_so_Hahd's picture

Liquidity Crunch

Ghordius's picture

fully agree. Poor Greece. May the Vampire Squid Firmly Attached To The Face Of Humanity and all it's minions get just desserts

btw, I applaud the skepticism of the Greeks telling their government that they don't want a referendum, and Tsipras should be ashamed of talking of one. Referenda should be done, not talked about as a possibility

nevertheless, Tsipras, Varoufakis and the rest of that coalition asked for power, and promised solutions. So just haggling for a deal with the creditors and then asking the people to sign on the dotted line or face the full consequences is not what the Constitution mandates

exert the power, but do take the responsibilities, dear Tsipras Cabinet members. of course, you can call for new elections, if the potatos are too hot for you

PartysOver's picture

Greece dug their hole over the past many years with a hude assist from the bankster.  Now they must choose their medicine to fix it.  Unfortunately there are no good choices.  But choose they must.

HonkyShogun's picture
HonkyShogun (not verified) PartysOver May 1, 2015 9:36 AM

Is "Fuck the bankers" a choice?


It was in Iceland and they're doing great.

HonkyShogun's picture

Yep. Plus they say it's a Shaquanda year. Or Shemita. Or something like that. Which means goyim get their debt forgiven.

indygo55's picture

Its more difficult to assissinate the leaders in Iceland with all that water and ice and such. 

sessinpo's picture

HonkyShogun said  Is "Fuck the bankers" a choice? It was in Iceland and they're doing great.

There are pros and cons of the current Iceland economic situation.

   "Picking Up the Pieces On the Road to Recovery

Of course, though, everything isn’t all rosy.  Many Icelanders have two or three jobs to sustain themselves and their families post-2008, and a sudden spike in taxes – an inevitable result of letting the banks fail – made the burden even harder to bear.  Though unemployment is down (it’s less than 5% of the population), you could say that “Iceland is a victim of its own success.”  Very high standards of living and 60-70 hour work weeks create a bit of a pinch in the pockets."


And that is just some of the side effects of their choice.

Over all, Iceland made the right decision. But no decision does not have consequences. You play with the devil or fire, you will get burned, even if you are Iceland. They did put some local bankster in jail so that is good. But you still have a government, subject to corruption in charge of a system to big.

We also have to consider as the global economy crashes, competition by nations for money will increase. That will put additional pressure on nations like Iceland. That also means a major war coming up.

Has anyone here considered this phrase? I think I am the first to coin it. Instead of "banks being to big to fail". "Government is to big to fail".

Of course, I believe the opposite.

A Nanny Moose's picture

They were out of money, and reality will NOT be evaded forever. The current generation didn't get to choose whether or not they had to work to pay pensions for current retirees. Those policy decisions were made before they were even born.

Since higher taxes come at gun point, they didn't choose higher taxes. I don't see the choice, to which you are referring.

overmedicatedundersexed's picture

Ghordius, the greek debt is either JUST or UNJUST. Real or Fake. one must choose?

as you know I think the debt is unjust and as fake as ben's FRN.

just a few folks printing Euro's and then demanding repayment for paper that has no value -as value was understood for thousands of years..insanity. are you insane?

declare the debt null and void. otherwise end up with insane results made by mad men of the fiat bankster clan. print gold print a loaf of bread a fine wine a home to live in, go ahead and do it- impossible you say, then tell me the value of the euro.

Ghordius's picture

excellent point. all of it? or is there a just and an unjust part? I see some tanks and frigates around. to be given back and a refund to be asked? at least they are worth some scrap metal prices

declaring the debt null and void is something that the Greek Parliament could do... and face the consequences. which, btw, would not entail war, but would be unpleasant enough

but I still maintain that the Tsipras Cabinet loves to talk about debt when it should talk about budgets. specifically, it loves to talk about debt that is not going to pay any interest until 2023

and if they do want to declare ALL that debt odious... well, reason more to balance that damn budget

back to basics's picture

Seriously, where do you come up with the nonsense you constantly put up on here ?

It's not budgets Tsipras should be spending his time on, it's default and exit.

The debt is odious, there are legal precedents which will support that argument in international courts. Default, go through hardship for the next three years until your economy rebalances and then grow faster than any member state of this political atrocity called the EU.

Ghordius's picture

then refute this "nonsense I constantly put up on here"

would anybody - never mind international courts - seriously say that ALL "that debt" is odious? on the base of which legal precedents?

further, a nation that just defaulted, or plans a default, needs even more urgently a balanced budget... because it can't count on further loans from anybody

so either way Tsipras and Varoufakis should really, really take care they balance that budget, way more then anything else, while, by that, even making their bargaining position stronger

Thisson's picture

The two go together.  Once they default on the borrowed money, they're going to have to operate on their own income, which requires a balanced budget.  

overmedicatedundersexed's picture

Greece , America, Ireland...any high national debt western country you can name..have to maitain insane policy to feed the debt owners and from my POV any actions taken to support this fiat debt that bleeds the living standards of millions is a crime against mankind, and an insanity of mass illusion.

JRobby's picture

There will be lines, even at the collapse

cannonfodder's picture

Not long ago in Canada, the tories listed a considerable number of dead people as voting supporters.

ZippyBananaPants's picture

Were there lambs at the meeting?  Sheep?

Philo Beddoe's picture

“Normally I only withdraw half the money at the end of the month but today I’m taking it all,” said Sotiria Zlatini, 75, a former civil servant. “There are so many rumours going round.” 

"I have been collecting my pension for over 23 years since retiring at the age of 52. I just want what is my right as a former Greek civil servant." 

Freddie's picture

Civil servants are neither.

NoWayJose's picture

I don't understand why these pensioners won't follow Yellen's advice to start their own businesses and invest in stocks - so they won't care about whether their checks arrive! The only other thing they could try would be to apply to American colleges and take out student loans!

billybobtx's picture


Philo Beddoe's picture

Probably not even single file. This is getting serious. 

JRobby's picture

They should line up outside Goldman Sachs. But they can't get there. The Goldman elite already off to the Derby, the vacation home, the party.

These are the scenes from the end of empire. These are the thieves that will never be prosecuted.

Four Horsemen

SoDamnMad's picture

When the rubber meets the road. 


NoDebt's picture

They had to buy time for the European banks to take the hit they all knew was coming.  

Monetas's picture
Monetas (not verified) May 1, 2015 8:42 AM

What would happen in Ferguson or Baltimore .... if EBT cards had a similar "Glitch" ? LOL

groundedkiwi's picture

The same thing that would happen if government stopped paying the police etc

Jonesy's picture

That'll show them, form nice orderly lines at the bank!

astoriajoe's picture

I wonder if the ECB bought those greek bank tellers emergency kits like the FED did here.

Par Contre's picture

The Greek people need to pull their heads out of their asses. They essentially have 2 choices:


a) Default, stop paying all principal and interest, and live within their means, or


b) Knuckle under to their creditors, accept austerity, receive more bailouts (for their creditors), and continue down the same path.

Ghordius's picture

how about c) balance budgets? no option C) or anything even remotely resembling an option containing balanced budgets?

NoDebt's picture

I don't think it's possible for them to balance their budget any more.  It's not just the spending, it's also that they can't collect the taxes.  

Ghordius's picture

to be frank, it's... hard, in my opinion, to pay taxes when the "Black Sheep EuroCrat" Tax-Man-In-Chief of Greece Mr. Varoufakis still talks about his Marxist convictions

nevertheless, they had a balanced budget months ago. a lot of this Greek protracted haggling is full of cannots where it should read want not, or will not

StychoKiller's picture



The problem, as we noted earlier this week, is that two out of three Greeks aren't interested in a referendum.  Of course they're also not interested in leaving the euro... or in implementing further austerity measures in order to get a bailout... or in empty ATMs.


"DoubleThink" is alive and well in Greece!  Ain't nothing gonna happen 'til someone lights a match!

So sorry, but the Socialist dream finally turns into the ugly nightmare it always is!

Jonesy's picture

Don't worry, Syriza will save you. 

astoriajoe's picture


don't worry, Syriza will slave you.

Madcow's picture

the Central Planners' strategy of saving the economy by stealing everyones money and giving it to the bankers and then throwing everyone in prison - is never going to work

MathWins's picture

This Greece financial calmity has more chapters than the novel War and Peace.

q99x2's picture

Who are they, fire fighters...police and the banks won't give them their money. They are terrorists. Take em to a Cheney FEMA centers.

gaoptimize's picture

They'd be better off spending their time putting in a garden and finding relatives and friends to move in with.

Sages wife's picture

I'll take my stack and pitch my tent on the Bundy ranch. Eat turtle.

StychoKiller's picture

Turtles don't live in deserts, Turtoises do.

HenryHall's picture

Referendum or election would be political suicide for Tsipras.

His only option to stay in power is default; and soon.

Niall Of The Nine Hostages's picture

His choices are playing ball with the Germans, stepping aside in favour of someone who will or being pushed aside in a coup d'etat.

If Athens defaults and starts trying to pay the army in worthless drachmae, Tsipras won't enjoy what the big men with guns have in store for him.

Father Lucifer's picture

The never ending story.

Niall Of The Nine Hostages's picture

o/~ Athens town

o/~ Broke as broke can beeeeeeeeeee...

Go on, help me out here, guys!