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New plan for civil service reduction hinges on more discipline

A combination of incentives for early retirement and a stricter approach to civil servants who have broken the disciplinary code or who score poorly in evaluations are seen by the government as the best way to reduce the number of people working in the public sector and meet the troika’s demands for 150,000 fewer civil servants to be employed compared to 2010 levels.

Sources told Kathimerini that any bureaucrats found guilty of serious disciplinary offenses or who receive a negative evaluation during one of the regular assessments which began in the public sector recently would be suspended from work for a year, during which they would receive 75 percent of their pay. The bulk of the reduction in numbers, however, is likely to come from a scheme to encourage civil servants to take early retirement.

The government will essentially attempt to make it more attractive for those who are within three years of claiming their pension to leave their posts rather than wait until they reach retirement age. The savings from the measure are thought to be no more than 160 million euros.

The measures were discussed on Wednesday during a meeting between Administrative Reform Minister Antonis Manitakis and Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras. Manitakis was appointed at the request of the junior coalition partner, Democratic Left, which strongly opposes the sacking of civil servants. The two ministers said they were attempting to “avoid focusing on the words that separate us but rather on the processes that unite us.” All parties in the coalition support the civil service evaluation scheme.

Nevertheless, there is some disquiet in Democratic Left about the cost-cutting measures that the coalition is set to adopt. Some of the party’s MPs expressed their concern to leader Fotis Kouvelis during a meeting of their parliamentary group on Wednesday. One deputy, Yiannis Micheloyiannakis, refused to attend the meeting, saying the government had already strayed too far from its post-election agreement.

ekathimerini.com , Wednesday August 22, 2012 (21:58)  
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