Greece to amend rules on labor mobility as tranche release put off until Monday

An amendment is due to be passed through Parliament on Thursday to help Greece reach its target for the number of civil servants to be placed in a job mobility scheme, after eurozone officials on Wednesday delayed the decision to clear Athens’s next bailout installment.

The legislation due to be voted on Thursday overrides a law passed last week that protects civil servants with postgraduate degrees and those with disabilities or other social needs from being forced into a labor reserve, where they have eight months to find other jobs in the public sector or face dismissal. Athens is taking this step after the Euro Working Group of technical experts that advise eurozone finance ministers found fault with the existing plans for the mobility scheme and said it was not convinced Greece would meet its target of transferring 4,200 workers immediately.

A European official speaking to Kathimerini on the condition of anonymity said there were “too many exceptions” in Greece’s labor mobility plan. Greek Finance Ministry sources said that the exceptions only affected about 80 people.

Eurogroup chief Jeroen Dijsselbloem said in a statement that Greece had completed all other “prior actions” demanded by the troika. “These prior actions included important steps in the areas of fiscal policy, tax reform, revenue administration, public administration reform, privatization and financial sector restructuring,” said the Dutch finance minister.

The disagreement over the labor pool means the Euro Working Group will reconvene on Friday, after the amendment has been passed in the Greek Parliament, to approve the release of 2.5 billion euros from the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) and another 1.5 billion euros in profits made on the purchase of Greek bonds by eurozone central banks. The process is not due to be completed until Monday, when a compliance report will be issued and national parliaments will also give their approval for the disbursement.

Also on Monday, the International Monetary Fund’s executive board is due to meet to decide on the transfer of its share of the latest bailout tranche, worth 1.8 billion euros, to Greece.

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