NEWS

Police to get eight percent pay raise

Finance Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis agreed yesterday to an 8 percent pay hike for police staff, a demand that Public Order Minister Vyron Polydoras had threatened to resign over if it wasn’t met. Alogoskoufis granted the raise, which will be paid over the next four years, as the conservative government aims to maintain its tight fiscal policy. The pay hike is expected to set the budget back a total of 50 million euros until 2009 with 1.1 million euros being charged to next year’s budget figures, according to the Finance Ministry. «With today’s decision we are putting into effect the government’s decision to correct inequalities affecting public servants,» said Alogoskoufis after the meeting between the two ministers, which lasted about an hour. The move may help avoid further friction with workers, after weeks of strikes by teachers demanding their own pay hikes. Primary and preschool teachers are seeking a pay raise of some 45 percent to starting wages. But the government has refused their demands, insisting that the budget can’t handle the expense as Greece tries to trim its budget deficit. «The payment regarding the pay hike for teachers reaches 250 million euros and cannot be compared with [the public safety raises],» said a government source. Polydoras said yesterday’s decision satisfies a 15-year request for raises by police officers.