OPINION

Time for adjustment

It might provoke the wrath of most employees in the public sector to say this, but I genuinely do not understand the extreme reaction by the chiefs of the main civil servants’ union to the proposal made by New Democracy General Secretary Vangelis Meimarakis to introduce afternoon shifts for staff in the public sector. It appears to have become taboo in this country to propose anything affecting the «acquired rights» of civil servants, to suggest ways to boost the effectiveness of the public sector (which, in the meantime, is under constant criticism for its inefficiency) to make it operate more like a private enterprise but without posing the tiniest threat to the employment rights of its staff, of course. There have been countless debates about the need for readjustment within the civil service, so that employees in overstaffed departments can be transferred to units that are suffering due to shortages. But every time the subject has been broached, it has met with a tirade of protests and threats of strike action. Our last few governments all conceded that a major reason for the lack of investor interest in Greece is the high level of bureaucracy in the civil service and the subsequent frustration interested parties encounter in even the simplest transactions. Why then do we not open public sector offices in the afternoons to increase efficiency…?