NEWS

Gov’t drafts bill boosting civil service wages, jobs

A draft bill that has been submitted to Parliament by the government paves the way for wage increases for certain local authority workers by offering a range of benefits, as well as guaranteeing job security for current employees and even foreseeing new hirings.

Ostensibly intended to regulate the situation with local authority workers, thousands of whom have been employed on renewable short-term contracts for years, the bill is apparently designed to appease them following a series of recent protests, most notably protracted strike action by garbage collectors last month.

What remains unclear is how much the measures are likely to burden the state budget and whether the country’s international creditors approve of them – or are even aware of them.

The bill, which is to be debated in Parliament next week, foresees an increase in wages to certain sectors including employees categorized as working in hazardous jobs, such as garbage collectors, but also to those employed in less physically demanding jobs such as musicians in municipal bands and orchestras.

One of the proposed changes likely to provoke the concern of foreign auditors is the restoration of a stipend for deputy mayors and other middle-ranking municipal officials to cover their travel costs and other expenses.

Another provision tacked onto the bill allows those with debts to local authorities to repay their dues in up to 100 instalments.

The proposed reform comes as creditors maintain pressure on the government to enforce a so-called mobility system in the civil service – aimed at moving workers out of overstaffed or redundant services into understaffed areas – and completing a long-delayed evaluation of Greek public sector workers.

In line with the commitments of the leftist-led government to the country’s creditors, the assessment of Greece’s civil servants should have been completed at the end of last month.

In fact the whole process has been stymied because most ministries and state agencies have yet to submit their reports to the Administrative Reform Ministry, a stance that labor unions ADEDY and POE-OTA have encouraged.

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