Civil service firings to start in June

Greece will begin firing civil servants from all government departments in June as it aims to meet the target it has set with its lenders, which is to reduce the number of public sector workers by 150,000, sources told Kathimerini on Monday.

The government is in the process of deciding which loss-making public organizations need to be shut down but sources said that these would not be the only sackings to take place. It appears that civil servants in all ministries, where departments will be slashed by a third, as well as the wider public sector could lose their jobs. Only the military and staff at the Defense and Citizens? Protection ministries will be spared, it appears.

Greece is cooperating with French experts in a bid to create a rigorous evaluation process for civil servants. It will be the first time that such a scheme will be employed in the Greek public sector. Sources said that sackings will be made once this process is complete, which is likely to be in June.

Some of the public sector workers deemed surplus to requirements will be placed in a labor reserve scheme rather than fired immediately. This means they will receive 60 percent of their salary for the next 12 months before being cut loose. In most cases, it will be bureaucrats who are close to the age of retirement. About 15,000 civil servants will be in the first batch to leave their jobs this summer.

Administrative Reform Minister Dimitris Reppas is expected to unveil next week the framework for the assessment of civil servants.

Education Minister Anna Diamantopoulou on Monday announced an overhaul of Greece?s public research network. Currently, there are 12 state-funded research centers and 56 research institutes, which employ almost 700 people. About 20 percent of Greece?s research emanates from these centers. The remaining 80 percent is conducted by universities, technical colleges and the private sector.

Diamantopoulou said that the number of institutes would be reduced from 56 to 31. The minister said that the changes were being made to create economies of scale and to focus public research on certain areas.