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Troika talks fail to bridge differences on reforms

School teachers and local government workers were joined by laid off Finance Ministry cleaners and school guards in a march that took place through the streets of the upscale Kolonaki district in central Athens after protesters were prevented from staging a rally in front of Parliament in Syntagma Square on Thursday.

A new round of talks between government officials and troika envoys on Thursday failed to bridge differences between the two sides on a series of issues ranging from a slow-moving civil service overhaul to controversial plans to lift restrictions to mass layoffs in the private sector.

Troika mission chiefs discussed the issue of private sector layoffs with Labor Minister Yiannis Vroutsis and also met for several hours with Administrative Reform Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis for talks that focused on a delayed plan to put thousands of civil servants in a so-called mobility scheme of forced transfers and layoffs.

An additional 4,000 civil servants will be put into the mobility scheme by the end of this month, a ministry source said, adding that the staff would come from local authorities. On the thorny issue of layoffs, Mitsotakis is said to have insisted that there would be no more after this year, following reports that the troika is pressing for a figure for dismissals in 2015.

The troika has yet to respond to the government's request for civil servants on short-term contracts who have lost court appeals to make their positions permanent to be counted from the total number of layoffs Greece has committed to make.

Troika envoys and government officials are to resume talks on Friday.

ekathimerini.com , Thursday March 6, 2014 (22:03)  
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