Greece, troika agree to public sector worker dismissal reserve

Greece will initially put 4,200 teachers, school janitors and ministry employees on line for possible dismissal by the end of this month, the first step in a plan agreed with creditors to shrink the public sector and keep international aid payments flowing.

Public-sector employees will remain on the “mobility and reallocation scheme” for eight months and must accept any other job offered to them or be dismissed, Administration Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said Tuesday in comments broadcast on private Mega TV from Athens. He said priority will be given to people who joined the civil service after taking entrance exams (ASEP) rather than those who entered via “the back door.”

Euro area governments on Monday agreed to release 3 billion euros ($3.86 billion) of aid for Greece, seeking to buy enough financial calm to prevent another debt-crisis showdown until after Germany’s elections in September. They told Prime Minister Antonis Samaras’s government it must step up the reform of tax administration and modernize the public sector.

“Without agreement with the troika on the mobility scheme, euro area finance ministers would not have approved yesterday [Monday] the latest release of aid for Greece,” Mitsotakis said. “The issue was very high on the agenda for the troika,” he said.

A total of 12,500 civil servants, which includes the first 4,200 lined up for this month, must be placed in the program by the end of September, according to an e-mailed statement today from Mitsotakis’s Administration and E-Governance Ministry. The remaining 8,300 will come from Greece’s municipal police forces. Another 12,500 public-sector workers, coming from all ministries, must be included by the end of the year, Mitsotakis said.

Mandatory exits

The mobility plan is separate from another commitment agreed to with the troika of the International Monetary Fund, European Central Bank and European Commission in February 2012 to proceed with 15,000 “mandatory exits” from the public sector, the ministry said Tuesday.

That will entail dismissing 4,000 people outright this year and 11,000 in 2014. Mitsotakis said the closing of state broadcaster ERT in June made up 2,000 of the 2013 dismissals and another 2,000 redundancies will be identified by the end of the year.

For every five civil servants who retire, a new one will be hired and for every dismissal, one person will be recruited for employment in departments that need boosting such as the Greek Coast Guard, which is under pressure given Greece’s large illegal immigration problem, he said. [Bloomberg]

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