NEWS

FinMin employees attempt to block troika meeting

Greece’s ministries were facing a barrage of sit-ins on Thursday, as public sector employees protested government plans to slash salaries and benefits and put some 30,000 of them on heavily docked wages for the next 12 months ahead of a status review — a scheme known as ?labor reserve.?

The mobilization took place as foreign inspectors of the ECB/EC/IMF troika returned to Athens on Thursday to evaluate whether Greece’s belt-tightening measures were enough to give the green light for the release of a sixth tranche of bailout loans to avert default.

Officials in Athens were upbeat that Greece is on track to receive the scheduled 8 billion euro installment and that a second bailout package for Greece, which was hammered out by eurozone leaders in July, would be implemented.

A previous visit on September 2 proved short-lived as Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos failed to convince them that the socialist administration had done enough in spending cuts and structural reforms ? a prerequisite for further aid to the debt-wrecked nation.

This time Athens has provided the skeptical troika officials with a written pledge it will make good on its pledges. The content of the letters has not been made public.

However, Thursday’s meeting was threatened by demonstrating employees at the headquarters of the Finance Ministry in Athens who vowed to hold a sit-in protest inside the building in a bid to prevent the meeting between Venizelos and the foreign auditors. Protesters said they would remain there for the next 48 hours.

According to a statement by ADEDY union group, protesters were also holding sit-ins at several other ministries including those of health, agriculture, justice, and administrative reform.

A cabinet meeting early on Thursday was expected to discuss the details of a new wage scale for civil servants and the laboor reserve program.