Public sector overhaul agreed

The government has finalized its plans for the labor reserve scheme that will lead to 30,000 public sector workers being gradually removed from the state payroll, in what is likely to be the first of several significant reforms to the civil service.

The Administrative Reform Ministry has completed a 45-page circular that will be sent to all public sector departments detailing how the labor pool will operate. Beyond that, it also sets in motion the scrapping of 150,000 empty places in the public sector, meaning civil servants will not be hired in the future to fill these positions.

The circular sets November 27 as the date by which the 30,000 employees will have to leave their jobs. They will then receive 60 percent of their regular salary for the next 12 months before, in all probability, being fired. A number of the bureaucrats will be drawn from public bodies which are being scrapped as part of efforts to streamline the civil service, such as the National Research Organization.

Sources said that employees from other departments would be moved into the labor pool as well. The only ones that have been exempted from the process are teachers. However, that will end when this academic year ends.

The ministry is also scrapping some 150,000 empty positions in the public sector. Under the Greek Constitution, civil servants cannot be fired if they are filling a position that has been created by law. By scrapping these posts, it means that new hires cannot fill them and, therefore, make it difficult for the government to remove them in the future.

The ministry?s circular also heralds the introduction for the first time of performance-related pay in the civil service.

Meanwhile, the director of the Social Security Foundation (IKA), Rovertos Spyropoulos, revealed yesterday that up to 8 billion euros has been paid in bogus pensions over the past decade. The payments were discovered following a census of pensioners. ?We will reclaim all that money up to the last euro,? he told Skai TV.

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