NEWS

Minister seeks 2,000 voluntary staff transfers in local authorities

There are no immediate government plans to force municipal employees to switch jobs in order to meet the troika’s public sector mobility targets, Interior Minister Argyris Dinopoulos said on Wednesday.

Speaking on Skai Radio, Dinopoulos denied a report that claimed the government was going to make local authority workers move so it could meet the target of 3,000 transfers.

“I have not read the report but there are no such plans because there is a voluntary program,” said the minister. “If a problem arises then we will take action.”

The deadline for municipal employees to register for a transfer as part of the voluntary scheme is August 29, while Greece has to meet its mobility targets by the end of September. Troika officials are due back in Athens in mid-September to begin the fifth review of the Greek adjustment program.

“The scheme for inter-municipal transfers is ongoing so it would be wrong to make any assessment at this stage,” an Interior Ministry source said. “There is time to take other measures if the target is not met.”

There have been 1,000 voluntary transfers so far, meaning the government needs another 2,000 volunteers from the municipalities to meet its target. However, the union that represents local authority workers, POE-OTA, has expressed opposition to the scheme and called on its members not to take part.

Assurances from the government that participation in the scheme would not lead to wage cuts or job losses appear not to have convinced most municipal employees. This is one of the reasons that the deadline for them to declare an interest in being transferred has been extended three times.

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