Transfers in public sector set to start

The process of transferring some 25,000 public sector workers to different departments in the civil service in order to save money is to begin before the end of the year, after the government revealed yesterday that it had finalized its plans for this scheme. Of those to be transferred, 19,000 will be people who worked at prefectures and municipalities that are now defunct as a result of the Kallikratis program, which overhauled local government. A total of 57 prefectures have been merged into 13 regions and more than 1,000 municipalities have become just 325. Municipal and prefectural employees are due to be handed official transfer documents by the end of the year, which will give them 15 days to accept their new positions. However, the main savings will be in the movement of staff from positions at state enterprises, known as DEKOs, which will be accompanied by an early retirement program. Workers transferred to other departments within the broader public sector are likely to have to accept lower wages in their new jobs. DEKOs are draining the public coffers – the Hellenic Railways Organization (OSE), for instance, is almost 11 billion euros in debt – and the government is under pressure from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund to make drastic cuts. Under the scheme, the number of people working at OSE is to be reduced from just over 6,000 to some 3,700. At the Athens Urban Transport Organization (OASA), the staff is to be reduced from 12,000 to 2,000 through a program of transfers and early retirement.