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Two days of strikes against lay-offs of civil servants

31 July 2013 / 20:07:20  GRReporter
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Anastasia Balezdrova

Just hours before the issuance of the ministerial order, which will determine the criteria according to which 8,290 state employees will be put in the ''availability mode'', trade unions are preparing two days of "hot" protests.

In practice, the transition to this kind of labour relations means that the jobs of these particular employees will be cut and they will be transferred to other government departments where there is a proven lack of staff.

According to sources, the main changes to the choice of officers will include the assessment of the manner in which they were appointed and inspection of their formal abilities according to their years of service. One of the most likely options for the selection of personnel which will be considered by Minister of Administrative Reform Kyriakos Mitsotakis and his associates includes giving more points to those who have been appointed by the Supreme Council, or after a contest that should also be held under the supervision of the competent authority.

The smallest number of additional points in the assessment will be given to employees who have been employed by other objective procedures in the period prior to 1994, i.e. before the establishment of the specific institution the sole task of which was to ensure the objectivity of appointments.

In cases in which employees have been penalised, a system will be provided for the withdrawal of points according to the punishment. It is expected that employees who have special needs will receive additional points, as long as they were employed under a specific law. Knowledge of foreign languages, years of service, a performance evaluation by the Office, days of certified additional training, number of children and other such criteria will give employees additional points.

Earlier today, competent Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said that those who have the necessary skills and were employed according to objective criteria have no reason to believe that they will be affected by the measure. Not so long ago, he signed an order which accelerated the issuance of decisions by the disciplinary committee, in order to identify the names of offending officials.

In protest against the upcoming changes, the union of workers in the public sector organised two days of meetings and marches in Athens. The organisation’s announcement states that these meetings are directed against the "murderous policy of indirect and direct illegal and contrary to the Constitution dismissals of thousands of employees."

Today's meeting of the leadership of the union with presidents of member associations decided to organise the following protests:

- On Thursday - interruption of work in all government offices and departments from 11:00 until closing time. Protesters will gather at Klafthmonos Square at 12:00 o’clock and will hold a march to the Ministry of Finance.

- On Friday – a 24-hour strike across the public sector in Attica and protest meeting outside the Ministry of Administrative Reform at 10:30 a.m.

The meeting was attended by the Federation of Municipal Officials, the National Insurance system IKA, tax offices, public hospitals, the National Intelligence Service, the national healthcare system, the Ministry of Development, the Ministry of Labour, the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Trade, the Ministry of Culture, the General Secretariat for Sports and provincial governments.

The meeting of unionists cancelled the protest of employees of the Ministry of Culture outside the building of the Ministry of Administrative Reform, which was scheduled for today. Shortly before the announced time (2:00 p.m.), three police buses and dozens of members of the forces arrived in front of the building.

Despite the preparation, protesters did not appear, and later it became clear that the meeting was cancelled because of the decision for mass rallies against the first wave of lay-offs.

Meanwhile, Greece's creditors insist that it should accelerate the pace of implementation of structural reforms. The new report of the International Monetary Fund reported considerable success in terms of the correction of various imbalances in the period before the economic crisis, but in parallel stated that "the implementation of reforms is well behind the scheduled time."

IMF experts believe that due to the unprecedented European and international support Greece is one step ahead of reaching a primary budget surplus and identified this as "significant success."

Regarding delays in the implementation of Greece’s commitments, the IMF believes that "the hesitant and fractured implementation of structural reforms" is due to the high cost of fiscal consolidation. It is also indicated that reforms are hindered by "constant political crisis" and "interests" that affect the business climate.

The report also stressed that Greece should accelerate reforms in order to achieve growth and create new jobs. In general, Greece’s macroeconomic data are in line with the programme’s projections and the budget performance for the current year has been moving within the defined objectives so far.

Experts reported delays in determining property taxes, excess health care costs and weaknesses of the tax collection system.

Especially in this respect, the report acknowledges that there has been some progress in terms of strengthening the autonomy of revenues, despite the slow pace of tax collection.

Experts also paid attention to the closure of the state broadcaster ERT, indicating that a new, smaller and less efficient media will be open in its place that could employ some of ERT’s former employees.

Tags: Society lay-offs civil servants strike trade union
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