Ministry tells rectors to take action

A proposal by the Education Ministry for the rectors at two universities to force administrative employees to end a two-month strike that is jeopardizing the start of the academic year was flatly rejected Monday.

The ministry advised the rectors of Athens University and the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA) to have the strike deemed as “abusive” by a court and force staff back to work.

The chief of the council of Greek university rectors, Ioannis Mylopoulos who heads Thessaloniki’s Aristotle University, however, responded that “the ministry created the problem and should therefore solve it.”

“He that wounded shall heal,” Mylopoulos said, quoting “The Iliad.”

Athens University and the NTUA have been given several deadlines to end the administrators’ strike and return to operation so that students do not lose the first semester of the year.

Administrative staff at the two universities, as well as at another six institutions, are resisting plans by the Education Ministry to place 1,349 employees in a so-called mobility scheme that will see them receiving heavily docked wages for up to eight months as they undergo an evaluation to be either transferred or dismissed.

One of the “prior actions” Athens must make good on to secure the next tranche of rescue aid, a sum of 1 billion euros, is putting 12,500 civil servants into the mobility scheme.

Authorities are to seek a two-month extension for the induction of another 12,500 staff into the scheme by the end of the year. Administrative Reform Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has said most of these staff will likely come from the health sector and local government administration.

The government also needs to fire 1,300 employees by the end of December to achieve the year-end target of 4,000.

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