Local government officials called on Thursday for Interior Minister Panos Skourletis to resign after Kathimerini revealed that the Court of Audit has deemed unconstitutional a decision to keep contract workers in their jobs at municipalities, as well as efforts to give them permanent positions.
“The judicial development leaves him politically exposed as far as the contract workers issue is concerned,” said the Central Union of Greek Municipalities (KEDE) in a statement. “KEDE’s insistence that the government’s decisions were unconstitutional has been justified.”
Skourletis clashed with a number of mayors recently over government pressure to keep contract workers on board despite their employment terms ending.
“Skourletis owes an apology to the employees who he basically fooled by promising things he could not deliver,” KEDE added.
The minister lashed out at Kathimerini, referring to a “supposed decision from the Court of Audit.” He insisted that the contract workers would gain permanent positions and receive their wages, even though the judges ruled that they should not be paid for the period after their contracts ended.
In a majority ruling, the judges deemed that any money that has been paid out to the employees during this period should be returned.
News of the court’s decision also drew condemnation for the coalition from New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis. “Alexis Tsipras continues to lie, break the law and fool citizens by irresponsibly trying to trade in hope simply to gain votes,” he said.
Skourletis insisted that the government would not abandon its plans. “The government, as it has repeatedly stated, is already working on legislation that will solve once and for all the problem faced by fixed-term contract employees and will fully respect the Constitution,” he said in a statement.
The coalition has targeted giving permanent positions to some 30,000 contract workers that it believes cover permanent needs at local authorities, such as nursery teachers.