NEWS

Despite latest cuts, government still short of 5,500 civil servants to enter mobility scheme

The effort to find enough civil servants to dismiss and put in a labor reserve became a little more frantic on Tuesday as Prime Minister Antonis Samaras discussed the issue with several members of his government, which appears to have come up short so far in meeting the demands of the troika.

The first target the government has to hit is placing 12,500 public sector workers in a mobility scheme by September. After that, it has to find another 12,500 to enter the program by the end of the year, when 4,000 civil servants will also have to be fired.

Samaras and his ministers face a range of problems in achieving these targets. This formed the basis of Tuesday’s discussion, where it became apparent that the move to disband the municipal police, numbering some 4,000 employees, could not be repeated in other areas. This means that ministers will have to seek suitable candidates for dismissal or the labor reserve in smaller numbers.

Another 5,500 civil servants have to be found to meet the September target and the government is hoping to find them when it completes the new organizational charts for ministries and the merging of public organizations. Up to 1,300 will come from the restructuring of public healthcare, which will lead to some hospitals becoming health centers.

Up to 1,000 more are due to come from the Defense Ministry, while some 1,000 administrative employees out of a total of 10,200 in the tertiary education sector could also be transferred. Education Minister Constantinos Arvanitopoulos insisted that no more educators could be transferred as it would put the whole sector at risk.

The pressure on the government was ratcheted up on Tuesday when it emerged that Germany will postpone until Monday its decision to approve the disbursement of another 2.5 billion euros in bailout loans for Greece. The delay was attributed to the fact that the European Commission has only confirmed that 17 of the 22 prior actions Athens committed to have been completed so far.

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