Socialists tackled on taboos

As socialist PASOK holds nationwide elections tomorrow for its new local and regional officials, party members will be sounded out on their views regarding Greece’s major labor taboos. Socialist voters will be handed questionnaires on controversial matters, such as the mooted scrapping of civil servants’ jobs for life, the potential abolition of the substantial benefits enjoyed by state employees, and the role played by trade unions. The move comes at a time when the government has gingerly broached the matter of trimming civil servants’ perks, following last month’s landmark deal with OTE Telecom unionists that will impose private sector employment terms on the firm’s future employees. Last week, PASOK leader George Papandreou called for leaving aside «taboos and preconceptions» to enable «a new generation of important, brave reforms that will help the country progress.» Until recently, PASOK fiercely opposed the end of civil servants’ permanent job status. Party officials expect a turnout of several hundred thousand in tomorrow’s vote.

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