NEWS

Gov?t, ND clash on public sector cuts

Interior Minister Yiannis Ragousis on Thursday stressed that the government was not planning mass redundancies in the public sector and that only those who fail a competency evaluation during their transfer to other parts of the civil service would lose their jobs.

Addressing Parliament, Ragousis said that the government had already saved some 6 billion euros by reforming the civil servants? wage scale and through early retirement schemes.

He added that more early retirements and voluntary redundancies over the next three years would cut 150,000 employees from the civil service.

?Evaluation is a goal for us,? Ragousis said, noting that the abolition of some state bodies and committees and the merging of others would result in the reassessment of a large number of civil servants.

According to a process overseen by the Supreme Council for Personnel Selection (ASEP), anyone deemed unqualified would be denied a position.

Several deputies of the main conservative opposition New Democracy reacted angrily to the plans on Thursday. Yiannis Michelakis, ND?s spokesman, dismissed the very idea of redundancies in the public sector out of hand. Former minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos described the decision to use ASEP to decide the fate of thousands of civil servants as ?unconstitutional.?

Addressing reporters on Thursday, government spokesman Giorgos Petalotis confirmed ASEP?s role, stressing that transfers would not be guaranteed. Petalotis also called on ND to take a stance after one if its cadres, Panos Kammenos, described Prime Minister George Papandreou as a ?hired broker? in connection to the trading of credit default swaps in 2009.