Wage bill is set to shoot up in courts

A wage tribunal yesterday ruled that judges and other court officials can claim similar wages to other high-ranking civil servants, thereby paving the way for claims of back pay that could cost the Greek state hundreds of millions of euros. The tribunal was hearing the case of appeals court judge Georgia Papadopoulou, who claimed more than 250,000 euros in unpaid wages between 2000 and 2005. The panel, made up of three judges, three lawyers and three academics, ruled in her favor by six votes to three. The academics voted against Papadopoulou’s claims. The appeals court judge wanted her salary to be raised in line with the wages paid to civil servants of a similar standing. She told the tribunal that the presidents of Greece’s highest-ranking courts are paid a monthly salary of 5,455 euros while the head of the Hellenic Telecommunications and Post Commission is paid 10,271 euros a month. The tribunal’s decision is not final, as the case has to be heard by an appeals court and the Council of State, Greece’s highest administrative court, before a final ruling is issued. However, yesterday’s rulings could pave the way for some 2,500 similar claims that have already been lodged by unhappy judges. Apart from claiming higher wages, judicial officials also want to have benefits, such as higher pensions and tax breaks, which are awarded to MPs.

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