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Parliament employees placed on the same footing as privileged officials in the Ministry of Finance

20 December 2012 / 20:12:03  GRReporter
1889 reads

The Greek government has finally found the right way to apply the saying "have your cake and eat it" in practice, regarding parliament employees who have already turned into a proverb themselves. With an amendment, which will be voted together with the tax bill, their incomes will be made equal to those of officials in the Ministry of Finance. Moreover, the number of hours overtime on Sundays, afternoons and nights, will not be allowed to exceed the limit of 52 hours per month.

"In practice, the promise of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras to eliminate inequality among employees is applied," said government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou.

However, no one made it clear that officials in the Ministry of Finance, with whom employees in Parliament were placed on an equal footing, were not included in the common payroll table and would keep some privileges. Commentators recalled the fact that most of the employees in Parliament were not recruited through an open competition, and in many cases were very close relatives of MPs and Ministers. They added that, in the past, the National Assembly functioned normally with a much smaller number of employees.

"The government obviously cannot confront "its own children", in the literal sense, who know the situation in PASOK and New Democracy from the inside. Why would they argue that the government "does not tolerate blackmail"?," wrote on his Facebook wall independent MEP Theodoros Skilakakis.

The only party that reacted was the liberal non-parliamentary force Drasi. Its message reads: "The announcement that the incomes of parliament employees will be made equal to those of all others, although in fact they will only be made equal to incomes of employees at the Ministry of Finance, is an impudent attempt by the government to ridicule in the face of all Greeks. Drasi insists that Greek citizens' sacrifices finally be shared fairly."

In turn, parliament employees murmured against the government's decision and said they await the opinion of the President of the National Assembly Evangelos Meimarakis.

"Once again we have found ourselves at the centre of the target of the government and media spotlights. By today's message, the government confirmed, as happens every week, that we are the cause of the country's suffering, and the road to development and prosperity overlaps with continuous stigmatisation of parliament employees," they wrote, and insisted that their incomes are not as high as the media claims, and they that have been affected by budget cuts.

In conclusion, they stated that "with respect to the Constitution and autonomy of Parliament guaranteed in it, we await the position of the President of the National Assembly."

In recent days, they have found support on the side of Vice President Athanasios Nakos. After yet more racketeering last week, when the government withdrew changes in their salaries for the second time, he said that incomes of parliament employees have declined by 52%.

In order to justify higher compensation for overtime, he referred to their irregular working hours, and added that "the whole debate is about 670 euro that they receive for overtime and transportation costs."

So far, there has been no response from President Evangelos Meimarakis.

Tags: Policy parliament employees incomes wages
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