NEWS

Greece to lose 150,000 civil servants by 2015

Greece will shed some 150,000 jobs in the public sector, long seen as an unwieldy burden on the country?s finances, by 2015 as part of the medium-term fiscal plan presented in detail by Finance Minister Giorgos Papaconstantinou on Friday.

According to the government?s plans, the reduction in the number of state sector employees, along with other cuts, will lead to savings of 1.3 billion euros this year and almost 4 billion by 2015.

Papaconstantinou said that a law to be tabled soon would abolish public bodies that no longer serve a purpose. The government will also begin evaluating civil servants with the aim of firing those not deemed up to the job. There are also going to be adjustments to the salaries of public sector workers, who have already had their wages cut by more than 20 percent since last year.

A new wage structure, which will be applied across all departments, is to be passed into law this summer. The new law will also introduce performance-related pay and set salaries for the different positions in the public sector in line with the private sector. So a clerk in the civil service will earn the same wage as one in the private sector, for instance.

Bureaucrats will also lose bonuses for those who are married although public servants with children will continue to receive additional pay. A 40-hour working week, rather than the current 37.5 hours, will also be introduced.

Crucially, the government also committed to only hiring one new public servant for every 10 that leave or retire as a way of reducing their numbers. However, this has already caused friction with Citizens? Protection Minister Christos Papoutsis, who does not want the measure to apply to the police force or coast guard.

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