Troika said to be unconvinced by ERT layoffs

Troika envoys reportedly remained unconvinced on Tuesday about whether the dismissal of some 2,600 employees of the state broadcaster ERT, which was closed last month, should be counted as layoffs in the civil service following a pledge by Prime Minister Antonis Samaras to rehire 2,000 of the workers on short-term contracts.

“The opinion of troika representatives is that the number of layoffs will be clear when the number of rehires are finalized,” a source at the Administrative Reform Ministry told Kathimerini after talks between Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and the foreign envoys.

The inspectors reportedly asked for more details about the transitional broadcast service planned by the government and when this would be replaced by a new broadcaster. Mitsotakis had planned to highlight the ERT dismissals as signs of progress in government pledges for public sector layoffs in a bid to secure an extension for the induction of 12,500 civil servants into a so-called mobility scheme where they would receive reduced wages for a year ahead of a status review.

Irrespective of whether or not the ERT staff are counted in the 4,000 layoffs the government must carry out by the end of the year, a significant proportion of the dismissals are expected to come from the education sector.

Senior officials at the Education Ministry have indicated that the sector has already contributed to the austerity drive, hiring only 2,000 auxiliary teachers for this year, compared to 12,000 last year.

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