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107 million euro in overtime compensations in civil aviation

20 January 2014 / 15:01:11  GRReporter
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In recent years, the salaries of civil servants in Greece have been undoubtedly cut, some more so whereas others less. On the other hand, all governments that have been in power since the outbreak of the economic crisis continue to perceive the public sector employees as a "sacred cow". It turns out that some of them have retained all privileges, taking full advantage of the inaction and impunity on the part of the controlling authorities.

A report by chief auditor of state administration Leandros Rakindzis states that employees in the Greek civil aviation still receive overtime compensations, even during days of sick leave. From 2008 to 2012, the sum spent for this purpose amounted to over 95 million euro. When adding the approximate sum for 2013, it appears that, within six years, the particular category of employees received 107 million euro only in the form of overtime compensations.

The interesting thing is that the auditors had established this fact as early as their first check in 2009. Then they had recommended the introduction of an electronic system to control the hours of work of employees since even people working in the offices of the Greek civil aviation abroad had received overtime compensations.

More than four years later, however, the auditors have found out that the system has been delivered but not activated. At the same time, the entire staff of the service, including employees whose work is not related to the security of flights in any way, received overtime compensations every month. It is worth noting that the maximum number of permitted overtime hours, namely 20 day-time working hours and 16 night-time working hours, were reported in all cases as well as working hours during all holidays. In other words, even the administrative staff received compensations, even when they were not working at all.

Despite the inspections and recommendations of the auditors, the situation has remained unchanged. Only eight officers were summoned to explain why they had not performed their duties properly. The cost of overtime compensations in 2013 was reduced to 12 million euro compared to 14.5 million euro in 2012. However, the computer system controlling the hours of work has not yet begun to function.

This is far from being the top news in newscasts. Referring to unofficial information, they report that the Supreme Administrative Court had declared unconstitutional the cutting of the income of all military and police forces.

So far it is unclear whether the decision of the senior judiciary affects the whole period from August 2012 to today or only the months to which the law passed in January 2013 was applied retroactively (August-December 2012). Competent Minister of Administrative Reform Kyriakos Mitsotakis said he could not comment on the case before being acquainted with the reasoning of the decision. His colleague in the Ministry of Health Adonis Georgiadis stated, "Regardless of the number of judgments issued, we cannot begin producing money." SYRIZA immediately called for declaring valid for the entire public sector the decision concerning the uniformed staff.

Despite the hopes of those concerned, aroused by journalistic reports, the court decision will not be announced in the coming days. Court reporters said, "Given the importance of the decision the administration will make every effort to make a clean copy of it within a month." Until then, the subject is expected to be the hot topic of the disputes between the government and the opposition, and public sector reforms will be postponed yet again.

Tags: SocietyCivil aviationOvertime allowancesAuditorPublic administrationSupreme Administrative CourtWage cuts
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