EC rap for labor failings

Greek state employment services are 30 years behind the rest of Europe and leave staff undertrained and unprepared for the future, the European Commission’s official in charge of training programs has told Kathimerini. «The system has not moved on from the needs of the 1970s,» Georges Kintzele remarked in an interview published in Sunday’s Kathimerini, noting that other European Union countries have integrated regular staff training into the working week. One of the main problems, Kintzele observed, is the monopoly of the Greek Manpower Employment Organization (OAED). «Most other countries have agreed that the unemployed should have a choice of services… You have a choice of airlines, mobile phone companies and thousands of other services but you do not have proactive labor policies,» he said. He said the fault was not only that of OAED. «There needs to be the political will to enforce a system of transparency.» Kintzele said «topping the agenda» of the EC’s employment directorate is a proposal to reorganize employees’ working week to include training. «We are not talking about wage cuts. It would be three days work and two days training,» he said. He said such a model is needed in many sectors. In the tourism sector, he said, staff could be trained during the off-peak period of October to March. He also stressed the importance of small businesses training staff, noting that most «have no knowledge of (customer) service.» Kintzele questioned the activities of the Employment Observatory (PAEP), which is overseen by the Employment Ministry, and whose role it is to monitor the needs of the unemployed and the staff needs of businesses. «What is it doing? And why is no one asking what it is doing?» Kintzele said, noting that the EC has financed and staffed the PAEP. «The government does not know which studies to carry out for promising sectors,» he said. He also questioned Greek reluctance to upgrade technical colleges. «If progress is made in harnessing renewable energy sources, where will we find the experts in Greece to create the infrastructure?»