The government appears intent on moving ahead with its plan to push through backdoor hirings in the civil service as Interior Minister Panos Skourletis reiterated his aim to grant permanent jobs to contract workers.
Speaking at an event of the ruling SYRIZA party this week, Skourletis pledged that once the bailout negotiations are concluded, all the political parties and relevant bodies will be summoned for a meeting to discuss how to restore the rights of contract workers in accordance with European Union standards.
Skourletis said that around 30,000 people have been working for too many years on a contract basis, mainly at municipalities across the country, and the minister appears intent on making a large chunk of them permanent. Critics have slammed the government, and Skourletis in particular, for needlessly burdening the country’s bloated state sector without any consideration for its efficiency or the citizens it is supposed to serve.
“The law stipulates eight-month contracts in emergency situations or 12 months for people working in social welfare-related programs,” Andreas Varelas, the former Athens deputy mayor in charge of sanitation, told Kathimerini. But, he added, “when the government unilaterally decides to extend these contracts it implicitly admits that this is not about meeting emergency demands.” “This way the road is paved to make [workers] permanent,” he said.
The contracts of municipal workers were initially extended last year to the end of 2016 and, according to recent a government amendment, they will be extended until the end of 2017.