NEWS

Greek PM seeks to overcome hurdles in talks on mobility scheme

Prime Minister Antonis on Samaras on Friday chaired a meeting with Administrative Reform Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and other government officials on the progress of Greek efforts to make good on pledges to put thousands of civil servants into a so-called mobility scheme foreseeing either a transfer to another post in the public sector or dismissal.

The meeting was expected to focus on two key problems that remain to be solved — the 1,500 or so administrative staff at Greek universities who were supposed to have been part of the first phase of the mobility scheme, foreseeing the induction of 12,500 staff into the system, as well as the progress of the second phase of the scheme which foresees another 12,500 employees entering the scheme by the end of the year.

The government reportedly plans to seek a two-month extension for the second phase of the scheme. It also wants the troika to count staff on short-term contracts who do not win their legal appeals for the extension of their employment among the layoffs that the troika have demanded separately. Finally, government officials want the troika to count among the layoffs the job losses that will result from the restructuring of two state defense firms and a mining firm.

Speaking before the meeting to Real FM, Mitsotakis insisted that the mobility scheme was not about layoffs but “a tool to better manage human capital.”

He said authorities were looking at transferring a large number of staff between municipalities that have surplus staff to those that have shortages.

He stressed that there have been no discussions with the troika about additional layoffs apart from the target of 15,000 by the end of next year that has already been agreed.

In order to secure a 1-billion-euro tranche of rescue funding later this month, Greece has pledged the troika a series of “prior actions” including the civil service transfers and an overhaul of the three state firms.

As speculation mounts that the troika will push for more austerity measures when they return to Athens, Samaras is reportedly planning to adopt a tough stance and to insist that any more salary and pension cuts or tax increases would be politically and socially disastrous.