Troika pushing for lower salaries

Lenders want public sector pay to drop and no automatic minimum wage rises

The troika has asked Greece to lower wages for new civil servants and to remove automatic pay rises for Greeks earning the minimum wage in the private sector, Kathimerini understands.

Talks between the Greek government and its lenders continued last night. Sources said that progress was being made but that any hopes of the troika presenting eurozone finance ministers with a so-called staff level agreement at Monday’s Eurogroup had now disappeared.

It also appears that some new issues have been added to the discussions.

One of these is that wages for those who enter the civil service for the first time should be reduced. Currently, a new public sector employee with a university degree earns a gross wage of 1,090 euros. It is not clear by how much the troika is recommending that civil service salaries be cut.

Sources suggested that the government is likely to accept the troika’s proposal, preferring to draw “red lines” on other issues instead.

Kathimerini understands that the troika also wants the government to scrap automatic wage increases for those on minimum pay, which is currently set at 586.08 euros per month.

Sources said the troika wants the new scheme to allow employers to keep workers on the same pay regardless of the time they have served. Under current labor legislation, workers earning the minimum wage see their salary increase by 58.61 euros per month every three years. Under the proposed scheme, a worker over the age of 25 with nine years’ service would, for example, see his or her wage reduced by 175 euros per month.