PASOK questions firings target

Coalition partner PASOK questioned directly on Saturday the government’s targets for sacking civil servants this year, suggesting that a better method for evaluating their performance should be created before more public sector workers lose their jobs.

The government has pledged to sack another 7,000 civil servants this year to meet the target it has agreed with the troika, which was for a total of 15,000 dismissals in 2013 and 2014. However, a dispute has broken out between PASOK and New Democracy officials about how this should be achieved. Administrative Reform Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Education Minister Andreas Loverdos disagreed over how many university administrative employees should be rehired after being placed in a labor reserve last year, with the remainder being dismissed.

“It is worth remembering that the labor reserve and dismissals are not fiscal measures (sacked workers are replaced with a one-to-one ratio) but purely structural ones,” said PASOK in a statement on Saturday. “This means that there has to be a serious evaluation of structures and personnel.”

An amendment passed through Parliament on June 13 means that the coalition has until this Friday to decide the fate of 1,134 university employees that have been placed in the labor pool on reduced wages for eight months as part of the public sector mobility scheme.

Loverdos, backed by Deputy Prime Minister Evangelos Venizelos, believes the government should rehire as many as 880 of the staff but Administrative Reform Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis insists that no more than 500 can be taken back because he would then have to find other civil servants to sack before the end of the year to meet the agreed target.

“PASOK has not asked for priorities to change and it knows that anyone calling for a change to what has already been agreed will have to propose alternatives,” a high-ranking official at Prime Minister Antonis Samaras’s office told Kathimerini on condition of anonymity.

Sources said Samaras is keen to stick to the agreed quotas in the hope that Greece will beat its fiscal targets and that this will allow him to introduce tax cuts next year.