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.
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.