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Greek Gov’t to Send 2,000 Civil Servants in “Labour Reserve”- Not Without My Loyal Voters

Hardly had the Eurogroup meeting ended on Monday and the Greek government took immediate action to show it is keen to keep its promises to lenders. Administrative Reform Ministry issued a circular setting the framework for the plan to send home 2,000 civil servants on 75% of their salary and thus for the period of one year. The scheme to reduce the country’s public sector is called “Labour Reserve” and it has to be concluded until the end of 2012.

The plan affects primerily state employees in public administration and municipalities with private contracts who got into the public service bypassing the Supreme Council of Personnel Selection (ASEP), i.e. they mostly got the job through personal connections,  favouritism, or traded ‘votes’ for ‘jobs’.

Also civil servants currently being prosecuted for severe disciplinary offenses will be included until their trials conclude. The Ministry considers the last category to be only “a few hundred’ of the country’s 600,000 or so civil servants.

Excerpt from the circular:

  • public sector personnel holding full- or part-time work contracts of ‘indefinite time’ duration, graduates of secondary education and working at the administrative departments.
  • hired without ASEP procedures, without transparency and meritocracy.(ProtoThema)

The labour reserve scheme does not affect the staff working for state-run enterprises (DEKO) like electricity, water and railways companies, notorious for being a ‘job pool’ for voters of the two big political parties.

Of course, there can’t be a plan/law/circular/regulation in Greece without exceptions – We call them ‘little window’ (παραθυράκι) here, to show there is always a way to fly through a window and bypass what is valid for the rest of mortal Greeks:

“Staff currently employed in such important services, which include hospitals, social insurance bodies and the Manpower Organization (OAED), will not be included in the redundancy scheme, according to the circular. [also workers at General Secretariat of Culture, Education & Sports Ministry* – exempted staff at Museums]

Also to be excluded are employees whose spouses have already taken early retirement, whose spouse or child has more than 67 percent disability, who are disabled themselves, who have more than three children or who are single parents.” (ekathimerini)

Minister Antonis Manitakis stressed that after the labour reserve year, the personnel will not be laid-off  or dismissed (with the exception of charged civil servants, I suppose) but it will be transferred to understaffed organizations.

Manitakis demanded from department heads to send lists with names of  employees within five days. If they fail to do so, they will face a fine equal to a quarter of the salaries of the total number of staff destined for induction into the redundancy scheme. First of all, it is the mayors who refuse to send these lists.

From 2,000 on labour reserve: 800 are facing disciplinary charges while 1,200 people are ordinary staff. They will go home with 25% less salary and if in one year no new work place is available they will be dismissed. According to law, without compensation.

The controversial labour reserve plan has sparked major disagreement among Samaras coalition government, with junior partner Democratic Left to insist that there will be no dismissals after the one year and Nea Dimocratia saying that lay-offs of these staff is possible.

Unconfirmed information speak of another 25,000 personnel to be forced on labour reserve in 2013 as the loan agreement between Greece and its lenders foresees mergers and abolition of several public sector departments, organisations, institutions etc in the context of structural reform of the Greek public administration.

It is the first time in Greece that unemployment will affect also those working at the public administration. More than 1.2 million people from the private sector are without work. Practically, one in four Greeks has not job.

*Some mean Greeks (also from ND) claim, the prime minister had several people from his voting area Messinia Prefecture to be hired when he was Minister of Culture.  Claims made openly also by Syriza.

PS Social criteria are OK. But why should hospital or IKA or OAED administration staff be exempted from labour reserve if hired through nontransparent procedures? One could say ‘in order to avoid personnel shortage’. However, a relocation of personnel from overstaffed ministries and departments could solve the issue. But that’s too complicated, I guess…




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  1. Where are rallies and strikes against these day care jobs?

    Your labor unions clearly organise strikes only to keep real problems, and their own involvement in them, out of focus.