Garganas under fire on salaries

Calls by the central bank governor for a more rational policy in public sector wage increases drew intense criticism yesterday from government and labor officials. In an interview printed in Saturday’s Ta Nea daily, Bank of Greece governor Nikos Garganas warned that unchecked pay increases would boost inflation, reduce competitiveness and lead to job losses. Noting that private sector raises had become more «reasonable» over the past two years due to a more responsible approach by unionists, he added that «the problem lies with certain monopolistic or oligopolistic areas of the public sector, the public utilities… where increases are excessive.» Yesterday, Labor Minister Dimitris Reppas said Garganas’s remarks – which he interpreted as calls for wage cuts – did not match government policy, arguing that Greek salaries are below the EU average. Christos Polyzogopoulos, head of the General Confederation of Greek Labor said Garganas’s remarks were «out of place.»