Gov?t decision paves way for OTE staff cut

The road is open for a reduction in employee numbers at OTE telecom, as a recent ministerial decision has lifted obstacles to a program for voluntary redundancies.

Just before the dissolution of Parliament earlier this month, Labor Minister Giorgos Koutroumanis passed a bill that allows state corporations such as OTE, Hellenic Post and others to have employees pay their own social security contributions and lifts the heavy tax (ranging from 70 to 90 percent) on severance pay to departing staff. That tax had been imposed in 2010 as a means of stopping state company employees from opting for voluntary redundancy.

OTE group president Michalis Tsamaz says that the company is now able to draft voluntary exit programs for around 1,500-2,000 of its employees, while OTE unionists are also in favor of the scheme under preparation. Such a staff cut would save the phone company some 150 million euros in the next three years.