Civil service hirings to be reined in

Two weeks after Interior Minister Yiannis Ragousis confirmed the government’s plans to recruit one civil servant for every five leaving the service, he sent a circular to ministries and state bodies on Monday ordering them to freeze recruitment until further notice and noting that hirings in the state sector would be trimmed even more than originally planned.

According to the circular, the number of hirings in 2011 will not surpass 5,500 – some 3,000 fewer than had been intended.

Earlier this month, Ragousis had said that 10,600 new staff would be recruited to the civil service this year, noting that this figure included some 2,700 employees who are to be transferred from the debt-ridden Hellenic Railways’ Organization (OSE) to other parts of the broader civil service.

According to sources, Ragousis plans to introduce greater flexibility to employment in the civil service so that workers can be transfered between ministries and state services depending on where additional manpower is required. The idea is that all employees are regarded as civil servants – rather than employees of any particular ministry or body – and are therefore transferable to equivalent positions in the broader public sector every few years or so.

Ministries and state services have submitted some 16,000 applications for permanent staff this year. Of these, only a third are expected to be approved. Of the 16,000 applications lodged with the Interior Ministry, 5,500 are for teaching staff, another 4,500 are for police officers, coast guard employees and other security service staff, an additional 3,000 are for hospital staff and the Justice Ministry has asked for another 3,000 court employees.

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