Parliament staff will not escape cuts

Legislation that would reduce the ample salaries received by parliamentary staff and rein in other privileges will be resubmitted to the House, possibly as early as next week, after being withdrawn ahead of Wednesday?s vote on a new austerity package amid threats that the employees would walk out and prevent the ballot taking place.

Government sources told Kathimerini that Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras are determined that the amendment should be voted through the House so that parliamentary staff be included in the unified pay structure for the civil service.

Stournaras submitted the legislation late on Wednesday, causing uproar in Parliament as staff threatened to go on strike and stop airing the House?s TV channel, which was providing live coverage of the debate ahead of the crucial midnight vote for Greek TV and foreign media.

There were also angry reactions from SYRIZA and Independent Greeks. Stournaras suggested that the two parties were attempting to protect unfair privileges in the public sector and had encouraged parliamentary staff to threaten action over the measures. SYRIZA and Independent Greeks said they were protesting the way the amendment was submitted rather than its content.

Fearing that the vote might not be able to take place, the government withdrew the amendment.

Notoriously, parliamentary employees earn up to 16 monthly salaries each year but apart from reducing their wages, the legislation also sought to end the process by which the employees? appointment and benefits are regulated by Parliament, which often adopts secretive methods, rather than the broader public sector.