Civil servants up in arms over cuts

The civil servants? union, ADEDY, signaled on Wednesday that it was gearing up for action over the government?s plans to extend a ?labor reserve? scheme – aimed at putting civil servants on a heavily docked salary for 12 months before reviewing their status – to the broader public sector and to municipal authorities.

The union, whose members are to convene tomorrow to decide on the form their protest action will take, issued a statement condemning the government for seeking ?to violate the Constitution and lead thousands of people into unemployment.?

In comments aired on state TV channel NET, Justice Minister Haris Kastanidis responded by insisting that the labor reserve scheme was not a roundabout way of carrying out mass sackings in the civil service. ?We are not trying to put people on the road to dismissal,? he said.

Concerns were particularly acute among municipal employees following comments by Deputy Interior Minister Paris Koukoulopoulos regarding likely dismissals in 15 of the country?s excessively indebted municipalities. Koukoulopoulos indicated that once the scope for staff transfers has been exhausted, the remaining surplus staff – some 15,000 people – would face redundancy.

Angry civil servants were further riled after Deputy Prime Minister Theodoros Pangalos sent a letter to 389 state bodies, including universities and hospitals, asking for a full list of their employees which is to be perused by a committee that is overseeing the merging and abolition of several state bodies as part of broader cutbacks to state spending.

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