Plea for restraint on court pay rises

Politicians appealed to judges yesterday to spurn the higher salaries recommended by a wage tribunal this week so the new pay structure will not ruin Greece’s public finances. «The current situation does not permit moves that affect the balance of economic policy,» said alternate government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros. PASOK leader George Papandreou also called on judges to refuse a pay raise from this or any other rulings. «We call on everybody to behave with a sense of justice at a time when Greek citizens have a grave feeling of injustice,» he said in Parliament. The wage tribunal ruled on Wednesday that judges and other court officials can claim similar wages to other high-ranking civil servants after an appeals court judge claimed more than 250,000 euros in back pay. The ruling is not final. It needs to be approved by higher courts but the wage tribunal is set to make public today another decision which recommends that the monthly salary of 9,000 euros paid to the director-general of the Economy and Finance Ministry should be used as a benchmark for deciding judges wages. The tribunal argues that Supreme Court judges as well as justices on the Council of State should be paid the same amount. They currently earn just under 5,000 euros a month. The government fears these rulings could lead to a rise in other public sector wages. Sources close to President Karolos Papoulias said he will reject any increase in his salary.

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