Minister to nudge courts over contract employees

Greece’s new Justice Minister Haralambos Athanasiou said on Thursday that his main target would be to address temporary court decisions that allow public sector contract workers to remain in their positions beyond the end of their agreements.

“These temporary decisions cannot last forever,” the former Supreme Court judge told Vima FM in reference to the court verdicts that allow contract employees to keep working until their appeals to have their positions made permanent are heard, a process which can take years.

One of the driving forces behind the government’s desire to tackle this issue is that it would help it meet the target of reducing the number of civil servants by 15,000 by the end of next year. It is estimated that 6,000 public sector workers on temporary contracts are currently waiting to hear if they will be able to stay on in their jobs.

Athanasiou’s predecessor, Antonis Roupakiotis, had prepared legislation limiting the length of time for which temporary decisions could apply and speeding up the court process.

Athanasiou said there was no need to address the outstanding issue of an anti-racism law as both parties in the coalition, New Democracy and PASOK, had made separate proposals. “The matter will progress and the differences will be overcome,” he said.

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