Minister gets tough on civil servants' redundancy scheme

As dozens of mayors across the country continue to resist government plans to put thousands of civil servants into a redundancy scheme demanded by the troika, Administrative Reform Minister Antonis Manitakis on Tuesday resorted to passing an emergency law that will bypass the need for mayors to approve the inclusion of their employees in the scheme.

Manitakis had warned last week that the government would choose employees for the redundancy scheme from a recent census if rebel mayors refused to submit the requested lists of employees.

Of the 2,000 civil servants that the government has promised its foreign creditors it will put in a fast-track program for redundancy, 1,000 are to come from municipal and regional offices and the other 1,000 from state entities that are either overstaffed or due to be merged or abolished. According to sources, the names of the staff from state entities have been finalized. The ministry had expected to draw the names of the 650 municipal and 350 regional authority workers from the mayors’ lists that it has yet to receive. Another 750 municipal workers who have been found guilty of disciplinary offenses face immediate dismissal, Kathimerini understands.

Government officials have expressed fears that failure to put 2,000 state employees into the fast-track redundancy program by the end of the year could prompt the troika to demand immediate and random dismissals.

Resistance to the redundancy scheme has been strongest among municipal employees, with several mayors, including those of Athens and Thessaloniki, joining the protests. Athens Mayor Giorgos Kaminis has toned down his objections recently however and on Tuesday sent letters to municipal workers’ unions, warning them that the continuation of a 20-day sit-in at City Hall’s administrative offices could put the disbursement of workers’ salaries and holiday pay in jeopardy.

This month is the last time that civil servants are to receive the additional salary traditionally paid at Christmas, in accordance with a new austerity program voted through Parliament last month.