NEWS

Civil servants warn that they may strike over cuts

The civil servants? union ADEDY on Friday threatened to stage strike action, possibly in August, over reforms reducing bonus payments they receive on top of their basic wage by up to 50 percent.

The reforms, tabled in Parliament yesterday by Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos and which are to apply retroactively from July 1, will affect employees in different parts of the broader civil service, ranging from ministry and local authority staff to research staff at universities and technical colleges to clerics and state hospital doctors.

Employees at ministries and local authority offices face the biggest cut of 50 percent while court staff get off more lightly with their bonuses set to be trimmed by 15 percent.

ADEDY issued an angry statement in response to the ?surprise? move, accusing the government of using underhand tactics ahead of the scheduled negotiations next week on a new salary structure for the civil service.

?They have announced across-the-board, dramatic reductions to salaries, in the absence of any criteria,? the statement said. Civil servants have been among the most vehement participants in a series of anti-austerity demonstrations over the past few months. Many civil servants already have seen their salaries cut by up to 20 percent since Greece received its first bailout in May last year.

ADEDY did not determine when it plans to stage further strike action nor what form this would take, but further action — on the back of two weeks of taxi drivers? protests — would come as a serious blow to tourism.

The government reportedly hopes to raise 175.5 million euros through the cuts in 2011 alone and an additional 351 million euros per annum in subsequent years.

In a related development yesterday, a biministerial committee headed by Deputy Prime Minister Theodoros Pangalos announced the merging of 14 state bodies which is aimed at raising another 150 million euros this year.