Universities ask state to reverse mobility scheme

Rectors representing the country’s largest universities on Wednesday appealed to the government to take immediate action to relieve operational problems at the institutions that have been caused by troika-mandated funding cuts, a rash of student transfers to the big universities and staff cutbacks.

As administrative staff at Greek universities launched a two-day strike on Wednesday, protesting forced transfers and layoffs, the rectors gave twin press conferences – in Athens and in Thessaloniki. They appealed to Education Minister Andreas Loverdos and Administrative Reform Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis to revoke a so-called mobility scheme. The scheme put hundreds of employees on reduced pay for eight months ahead of possible dismissal and many of those workers face redundancy this month.

The rector of the Athens University of Economics and Business, Constantinos Gatsios, said that if measures are not taken without delay, “Greek universities will close due to a lack of funding and staff.”

“The state must acknowledge, in a clear and honest way, the mistake that it has made and correct it,” he said.

Greek universities have lost some 1,100 staff due to the mobility scheme while funding has been slashed by more than 40 percent since 2010. Thousands of student transfers from provincial universities to the big institutions in the cities has aggravated the problem.