NEWS

Public servants playing hooky

Spot checks by Interior Ministry inspectors at public services yesterday revealed that a large number of civil servants had taken the day off without permission despite previous warnings not to do so. It is common practice for some bureaucrats not to go to work on a Friday if the previous day is a public holiday, as occurred this week, so Interior Minister Yiannis Ragousis had sent a circular to all public departments warning that such absences would only be allowed if leave had been requested. However, sources said that staff were missing from a number of government departments and public services, including the ETHEL bus company, without permission. As a result, Ragousis asked for the department heads to supply him a list by 2 p.m. yesterday with the names of all the people who had extended their break without permission. It was not clear what action would be taken but the ministry said that it would continue with such inspections in the future.