The Labor Ministry has recalled 86 employees to help speed up the processing of hundreds of thousands of outstanding pension applications that are gathering dust in the basement of headquarters at the country’s main social security agency.
Minister Yiannis Vroutsis on Saturday said he has issued an urgent order to reinstate the workers who had been removed in 2018 and 2019 by the SYRIZA government from the Single Social Security Entity (EFKA) department that processes pension applications. This move will increase the workforce tasked with processing more than 270,000 pending applications “bequeathed” to the new government by its leftist predecessors,by 17 percent, Vroutsis said in a tweet.
An investigation by Skai TV on Saturday revealed stacks of boxes at the basement of EFKA’s headquarters on Kaningos Square in central Athens, all of them containing pending applications of pensions, and at least one of them dating to 2015. The number of employees at the department simply does not suffice, the report stressed, after many retired and others were transferred to other state agencies.
One EFKA employee told Skai that he had spent the last 25 days looking for a single document; when he finally tried to contact the pensioner it concerned, he learned that the individual had passed away.