Selective FinMin wage hikes fuel protests by others

Selective FinMin wage hikes fuel protests by others

A piece of Finance Ministry legislation that introduces wage increases for employees hired over the past seven years has prompted angry reactions from those workers who do not stand to benefit from the provision, widely seen as a handout by the leftist-led government which is trailing in opinion polls ahead of elections next year.

The provision, which was voted through Parliament at the end of last month, foresees significant salary increases for Finance Ministry employees hired after November 1, 2011.

It also applies to staff at state bodies overseen by the ministry, including the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT), the Independent Authority for Public Revenue (IAPR) and the State Audit Council.

The increases are to cost 10.5 million euros.

The ministry’s justification for the increases, as explained in the introductory report that accompanied the bill submitted to Parliament, is that they intended to bring the wages of the workers in question to the same level as older staff, many of whom had higher salaries.

The report refers to the “implementation of the constitutional right to equality, in view of the fact that [the provision] applies to employees who offer the same services as those working before the critical date.” 

Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos, Alternate Minister Giorgos Houliarakis and Deputy Minister Katerina Papanatsiou, who all co-signed the bill, had been under pressure for at least two years from unionists representing the ministry’s workers to raise the wages of new recruits.

The decision to proceed with the raises, however, has reportedly provoked protests by civil servants who are not covered by the legislation.

The beneficiaries are to receive their increases retroactively from September 2018.

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