OPINION

A public sector luxury liner

Here is a condensed extract from yesterday’s speech by the Hellenic Telecommunications Organization’s president and managing director, Panagis Vourloumis: «Public companies and organizations are an interesting and singular phenomenon in Greece and it is worth describing life there. But whose life? There are many different people in these organizations and life is not the same for all. I decided it would be easiest to compare these organizations to a cruise ship. It has first-class seats, deck space and all the seats in between. The first-class seats are occupied by trade union leaders. These officials are paid well to travel comfortably, have special privileges and have usually reserved a cabin for their children. If they are lucky, this ship could be their passport to the luxury liner of Parliament. In economy, things are quite different. The space can be expanded to take in anyone. The dream of every Greek is to be recruited onto the staff of a public organization. The position offers a respectable and regular wage, benefits, job security and an early pension. Apart from the full-time crew, there are also auxiliary and contract staff, most of whom jumped aboard in the countdown to a general election. Finally, there are the non-ticketed passengers, who we can’t do much about. But what about those who have paid for a ticket? Squeezed into the hold, they are moved back and forth to suit the needs of the day.»