A ruling by the State Audit Council that was made public on Friday paves the way for the disbursement of months of unpaid wages to thousands of municipal sanitation workers on expired short-term contracts.
According to the ruling, the workers should be paid as, although they were not on contract during the first few months of this year, they fulfilled their duties as municipal employees.
However, in the reasoning that accompanied its decision, the court deemed that the extension of those workers’ contracts until the end of the year, as the government has pledged, would be a violation of Greece’s Constitution and of European regulations.
Last month municipal workers staged protracted strike action that left thousands of tons of trash rotting in the streets of Athens and other major cities in the middle of a heat wave. In a bid to break the impasse, the government offered to extend the workers’ contracts and then to hold a competition early next year to hire thousands of staff permanently.
A draft bill due to be debated in Parliament next week aims to grant job security, and wage increases, to several categories of public sector workers.