OPINION

Lack of consistency

The government’s promise to officially recognize five years of additional «active service» for police, customs and fire brigade officers who joined as of 1993 is clearly aimed at satisfying the demands of these security forces. The officers, like those in other categories, have been protesting that certain additional services they provide are not recognized in their wages or their pensions; they also complain that despite campaign promises, the current government has not classified their jobs as health hazards. But these claims were not sufficient justification for the measure announced yesterday by Economy Ministry Giorgos Alogoskoufis. The recognition of an «extra» five years reveals the irrationality and paradoxical state of affairs in that the law recognizes the false as real, that it recognizes «active service» that did not actually take place. This shows an outrageous lack of consistency on the part of a new government struggling to convince the people that the country needs to be run more rationally, realistically and in accordance with new economic conditions. If someone carries out additional service, a way must be found to record it and pay for it, but no one should recognize five years that never happened. Resorting to false substitutes does nothing to further the «better housekeeping» the government claims it wants. Giving handouts to everyone only results in injustice and unequal treatment. It is clear that in addition to those who have indeed served an extra five years, recognition will be given to thousands of police officers assigned to protecting celebrities but who are little more than errand boys. All workers have the right to seek improved conditions. But the government has the duty to evaluate their claims in the light of the capabilities of the state and equal treatment with others in similar positions. The government has pointed out the lack of consistency that has emerged in decades of fragmentary moves to satisfy groups in the work force through political influence. It has even emphasized the need – citing European Union directives – to harmonize conditions, to treat everyone the same way and to unify legislative provisions and social security funds. How is this served by granting these extra years? How can such a handout be incorporated into the broader framework of the social security system and labor laws? How can it be reconciled with the goal of a comprehensive, rational approach?