Court ruling against pay cuts for military, security staff 'special case'

A decision by the country’s highest administrative court that deems unconstitutional the wage cuts imposed on members of the armed forces and emergency services in 2012 is a special case and does not set a precedent for employees of other parts of the civil service or independent organizations, Kathimerini understands.

The decision, which was leaked to the media on Monday but is not expected to be made public for at least a month, had unsettled the government as several appeals have been lodged against wage cuts demanded by Greece’s international creditors.

There were fears that a series of similar appeals, if vindicated, would put the government in the position of having to find millions of euros to return withheld salaries.

However, according to sources, the president of the Council of State, Sotiris Rizos, and other senior judicial officials discussed several other appeals late on Monday – by employees of the Finance Ministry and independent bodies – and deemed that the enforcement of a new unified wage scale for civil servants does not violate the Constitution in these cases.

The case of the armed forces and emergency services is different, a top judicial official told Kathimerini, as the employees in these sectors constitute “the hard core of the state.” According to sources, the reasoning behind the Council of State’s decision will explain, once it is published, that employees in these sectors should enjoy special treatment by the Constitution as they are banned from striking and from other employment and have the responsibility of ensuring national security and public safety.

“The fact that staff of the armed forces and security services are being treated as a special category cannot set a strong legal precedent for other similar appeals,” a senior judicial source told Kathimerini.

The court decision relating to military and security services employees is expected to cost the state around 100 million euros, Kathimerini understands. The wage cuts were voted through Parliament in December 2012 but were applied retroactively from August of that year.