Government yet to find enough civil servants for mobility scheme

There were growing doubts Thursday about whether the government would be able to meet the target of placing 12,500 civil servants in a mobility scheme by the end of the month, as agreed with the troika in order for Greece to receive its next bailout tranche of 1 billion euros.

Kathimerini understands that the two-party coalition is currently at least 2,000 public sector workers short of its goal. The troika’s technical teams arrived in Athens Thursday and the mission chiefs are due to start work on the latest program review on September 23.

The first phase of the mobility scheme had been scheduled to be completed this month, with another 12,500 civil servants due to enter the scheme, which will lead to some of them losing their jobs, by the end of the year. It is one of several milestones that Greece has to meet before receiving further loans. Another reform due this month is a change to the lawyers’ code that would bring their salary and labor rights in line with the rest of the private sector.

Sources at the Administrative Reform Ministry said earlier this month that there would be only a few days’ delay in meeting this month’s target but the refusal of universities to cooperate with the government’s demand for 1,500 clerical staff to be released so they could make up the numbers for the mobility scheme has created a further, unexpected delay.

The problem has been compounded by the fact that the Public Order Ministry was also due to provide 500 workers for the program but is not doing so.

Academics at Athens University and the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA) announced a strike earlier this week to protest plans to transfer the institutions’ administrative staff. They threatened to close down the universities entirely if the employees are moved.

Education Minister Constantinos Arvanitopoulos is due to meet university rectors Friday and will demand they provide him with an evaluation of each institution’s staff needs by Monday. Kathimerini understands that if the government does not receive the assessments, it will pass legislation setting out the universities’ needs and paving the way for the removal of staff.

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