The privileges of the employees at the Greek National Assembly have become public after the "mini coup" that they tried to make on the day of the vote on the new fiscal adjustment plan. It has been revealed that despite the difficult financial situation of the country, they still receive 16 salaries and enjoy a number of additional benefits that remain unattainable for the average citizen in Greece.
Despite the cuts, the salaries of stenographers, secretaries and other administrative staff in parliament remain high compared to the declining standards of living in the country. A parliament employee receives an average of 3,000 euro net, not counting the bonuses and allowances on top of the wages.
According to the budget of the National Assembly, the 15th and 16th salaries alone of these employees in 2011 cost taxpayers 16.9 billion euro. In 2012, the total value of these two additional salaries was reduced to 5.1 million euro. They were renamed to "an incentive remuneration for the performance of parliamentary targets" and the head of the National Assembly decides on their amount.
If a parliament employee has 30 years of service, he has the right to retire and receive a single compensation of 60 monthly salaries. The amount of compensation exceeds 200 thousand euro for a retired parliament clerk and is not subject to taxation. The same employees are entitled to second compensation from the social fund of political officials and to a share of the fund of the employees in the political system.
In addition to the numerous salaries and other financial benefits, the employees can send their children to the kindergarten at the National Assembly for free. One of the kindergarten bases is in the immediate proximity of the Zappeion National Park and recently, the Ministry of Education has provided the National Assembly with a second building for the establishment of a kindergarten in the central Plaka neighborhood below the Acropolis. The employees can go to the gym and use indefinitely the parking lot of parliament as well.
That same special caste of officials have the right to shop in the specialised shops for the employees of the air forces, where commodity prices are significantly lower than in conventional supermarkets.
In the parliament building, there are many different premises rented to private companies. The funds from the rent of these spaces go neither to the state budget nor to the treasury of parliament. The funds go directly to the mutual fund of the employees in the National Assembly. Some of the companies that pay rent to the parliament are the National Bank of Greece (NBG), which pays a rent of 312 thousand euro a year, Hellenic Posts – 48 thousand euro, the shop of the parliament – 24 thousand euro, Olympic Air – 48 thousand euro.
Any transaction of the administration of parliament with external suppliers is burdened by an additional 7%, which goes to its employees.
In each election period, the clerks receive another 1,000 euro in addition to their basic salaries after the convening of the new National Assembly. The same thing happened during the first parliamentary elections in May this year when the National Assembly was fictitiously convened for one day and then, it was dismissed in order for the second election period to begin.
Although the country had already waded deep into the financial crisis, the employees, who worked one day in May, received 1,000 euro in addition to their regular payment. The decision was signed by the head of parliament at the time, Viron Polidoras. According to Polidoras’ explanation, parliament employees were legally entitled to receive a bonus of 4,000 euro, but they were paid only 1,000 euro because of the difficult financial situation of the country.
According to the 2010 data, the number of parliament employees is 1,340. The total value of their salaries reaches 106 million euro. The salary of a cleaning woman is 1,900 euro net, iefimerida.gr reports. Over the last five years, the number of permanent employees in the National Assembly has doubled and it has happened with the blessing of the two largest (until yesterday) parties in Greece - PASOK and New Democracy. It remains an open secret that the majority of the people appointed permanently in parliament are close associates or family members of ministers, deputies and party members with a long presence in the local political scene.
Prime Minister Antonis Samaras has said that if parliament employees attempt again to boycott the removal of privileges through active strike actions, he will announce their civic mobilization. Then, they will be forced to return to their jobs or be arrested for disobeying the Prime Minister’s decision and will be dismissed on disciplinary grounds.
Changes in the law provide that the employees in the National Assembly should be included in the general body of the public administration. Their salaries should be introduced in the single payroll table, which applies to all public workers after the changes and they should receive only 12 salaries as the law stipulates for other employees in the public sector.
Meanwhile, the latest data published by the National Statistical Institute show that private sector employees continue to bear the hardest burden of the deepening crisis.