OPINION

Held to ransom

It appears that the government has landed itself in a real mess over the matter of contract workers, and it is unlikely to extricate itself unscathed. Although promises over contract workers formed part of its election campaign, New Democracy’s intentions were honorable: to put an end to a labor regime inextricably linked to client relations and to patronage by every government and political party. When the current prime minister made his pre-electoral promise, he was evidently unaware of the size and complexity of the problem. Indeed, anyone with any insight into the matter was amazed at his pledge to give permanency to 250,000 contract workers. It would be necessary to marshal all tenuous links to the State for so many citizens to be satisfied. And when the figures rise this high, it is not just the workers that are held to ransom but also the State itself. The organization of short-term contracts is so ambiguous that the adoption of any fixed criteria – such as that of «permanent needs» – only served to make things more complicated! These needs should have been defined – including certain individuals and rejecting others – but this would have radically reduced the number of contract workers benefiting from new legislation, which would have put the government at risk of being condemned as inconsistent and unfair…