ECONOMY

No more ‘jobs for life’ for state employees

Greece may end the permanent employment status of public service workers as part of the government’s economic reforms, Finance Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis said in comments published yesterday in the press. The ruling New Democracy party won a second four-year term in September vowing to speed up economic reforms such as privatizations, cutting back the public sector and streamlining the country’s unwieldy bureaucracy. «Why should we perpetuate the differences in work relations (between the public and private sector). They cannot be justified,» Alogoskoufis said in an interview with Sunday’s Apogevmatini newspaper. Reforms «We are moving within the framework of subtle adjustments and promotion of reforms. We can’t compromise by maintaining this current social injustice,» the minister told the newspaper. Government officials, including Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, have targeted the public sector as the country’s main problem for economic growth, even going so far as to call it «the great sick man» of Greece. Greece has already sold majority stakes in a couple of former state-controlled banks and more divestments are planned in telecoms group OTE, Olympic Airlines and the Eleftherios Venizelos Athens International Airport. Selling stakes in the country’s major ports in Piraeus and Thessaloniki to strategic investors is also being pursued, he said. «Our plan is to streamline the public sector and cut waste at state-controlled enterprises,» Alogoskoufis said. «The challenge is to put an end to the burden placed on the public from the dysfunctional state sector.» (Reuters)