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6%-35% Wages Cuts Take Military, Police, Doctors, Judges to the Streets

Military and police forces personnel, coastal guards, university deans and teaching personnel, judges, prosecutors and court staff,  public hospital doctors… at least 200,000 civil servants are up in arm, organizing mass rallies to protest 6%-35% cuts in their wages. Cuts that will be applied retroactive as from 1. July 2012.

These civil servants groups belong to the so-called “special payrolls” that include also diplomats and clergy. As the Greek government struggles to save 11.5 billion euro under Troika pressure to trade with the bailout tranche of 31 billion euro, special payrolls cannot be excluded from the cuts. Despite some alledgedly government efforts to have them excluded from the cuts.

Aiming to save 360 million euro, Samaras government is obliged to proceed to cuts like:

  • 6%-7.5%  for personnel of military, police and coastal guards forces and 12% as of 2013
  • 17% in the average for university deans
  • 13% in the average for state hospitals doctors
  • 20%-35% for judicial personnel (judges, prosecutors etc)
  • 20% for diplomats and high ranking clergy.

In the broader context of scrapping also the 13th (Christmas bonus) and 14th wage (Eastern & Summer vacation bonus) for civil servants, additional 1,000 euro will disappear from the annual income of the special payrolls.

During the last days representatives of special payrolls unions started talking to the media,  complaining about the rapid deterioration of their living standard would be. 

There was talk about policemen, for example, earning  690 euro net (±1,000 euro gross) after finishing police academy.

Or about university professors earning 2,500 euro after 30 years of work – from originally 3,250 euro before the austerity cuts of the last two years.

Public vs Private Sector

However the public opinion of the private sector has little understanding for the “plight” of special payrolls in particular and of civil servants in general. With private sector unemployment at least 23.1 % (increasing tendency) and social injustice between public and private sector have already begun to glide the society into a state of “civil war”. At least on the verbal level. 

“At least, they still have a job and an income,” said a friend (48, mother of three) jobless since three years.

“They should quit and seek a job in the private sector,” said another friend, 27, who never managed to get a job after she graduated university three years ago.

“Can you imagine? A young policeman gets 690 euro net, while a young guy with university studies and post-graduate degrees gets just 500 euro gross in the private sector,” wrote somebody on the Greek internet.

Protests Schedule

5 Sept 2012: state hospital doctors – work stoppage after 11 am. Judges and prosecutors rally

6 Sept 2012: military, police and coastal guards, protest rally

10 Sept 2012: university teachers 24-hour strike and further protests

10-14 Sept 2012: TEI teachers, 5-day strike

The strikes of University and TEI personnel threaten to cancel the exams period for students with the effect that they may have to extend their studies for an additional semester.

 PS one should take into consideration traffic disturbances in downtown Athens during the protest days.




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  1. Why ARE there “special payrolls”? And why should they be exempted from cuts?!

  2. It is the same in almost every country. It’s related to the “danger” or “unsocial hours” or simply the “importance” of the job.
    And it highlights the idiocy of different wages for different jobs. A police man might be exposed to more danger when having to deal with a riot, but then, that is part of the job, and s/he knew this before signing up. A woodworker is exposed to the danger of cutting his finger(s) off when using the electric saw. Does that entitle him to more money?
    Or is a judge, with the legal knowledge to make an informed decision on putting somebody in jail or not more important than the plumber with the knowledge to hook up a working shower unit for you?
    People are going to have to make up their minds which way this is going to go. Do we work together and come out of this together, or is this going to be an “each man for himself” situation?
    It is the latter attitude that allows gangsters like the Troika and their puppets in governments around the place to get away with what they are getting away with. The various peoples of Europe are being robbed wholesale, and this is the attitude that makes that theft possible. Not just within a society like Greece or Spain, but also within the wider EU community.
    As the Spanish PM said the other day, “a little cooperation would be well advised”. He is dead right.
    Unfortunately he was not referring to cooperation between the Troika targets to get shot of the Troika, he was referring to the Troika cooperating with “special conditions” for Spain, and sod the rest…

  3. Because they are the pillars of a well functioning state. They are not just civil servants.The state gave them crucial role for the country’s security, the functioning of the governance/state and the protection of citizens. They have increased responsibilities, have enhanced skills and their everyday life has nothing to do with that of the ordinary routine of other public servants. They have specific working conditions, moreover, their special role has been recognized by all the governments in the past that have assigned them to special payrolls with improved earnings.

  4. I disagree with you there. The guy who collects the rubbish from the streets is as much a pillar of society as is a judge.
    He executes his function on a totally different level, but that does not make him less important or a “lesser” citizen.
    When people refer to the “caste” system in India, they invariable comment on how cruel and uncivilized this is.
    The only difference is that instead of birthright, we use money as a means to put and keep people in their designated box…

  5. it’s not my opinion, it’s the state opinion about them.

  6. Great, you have just gone up 2 notches on the “like” scale 🙂

  7. Yep. These special payroll clowns are the guys and girls who did not do the jobs they were payed so handsomely for. These pillars of society are the reason we are where we are now. They screwed us left and right and are now screaming murder because they might be asked to cut down a few percentage points of their fat.
    These pillars are rotten to the core. And this societies collapse is on their heads. So if their should be gallows put up by anybody it should