Minister says 1,000 dismissals to come from ‘interventions’ at state firms

The contentious issue of layoffs in the civil service is expected to return to the fore on Monday when Administrative Reform Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis is to meet again with troika envoys to discuss the government’s efforts to overhaul the public sector.

Greece must dismiss 4,000 civil servants by the end of this year, as part of its pledges to international creditors, but it remains unclear where these layoffs will come from. Speculation was rife over the weekend. One scenario involved the dismissal of 1,200 doctors who work for Greece’s main public healthcare provider, EOPYY.

In comments to Mega television channel on Saturday, Mitsotakis said that 1,000 of the layoffs would come through “interventions” at various state organizations, which he did not identify, while noting that that plans to streamline state defense firms would lead to further dismissals. He indicated that there would be no abrupt initiatives as with the surprise shut-down of the state broadcaster, ERT, in June. “There is no scope for sudden death moves in the mold of ERT,” he told Mega.

Mitsotakis is also expected to discuss with troika envoys the progress of Greece’s efforts to overhaul the public sector by transferring superfluous employees to understaffed departments. The government has already put 12,500 staff into a so-called mobility scheme of transfers and layoffs and has sought an extension for the induction of another 12,500 into the same scheme. In his comments to Mega over the weekend, Mitsotakis said that members of the now defunct municipal police force, who have joined the scheme, are to be recruited in offices of the Finance Ministry, the Greek Police and the country’s prison service.

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