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Troika Wants Greek Workers Fired Now

workersFrustrated with three years of delays and foot-dragging, and as record unemployment has hit the private sector, Greece’s international lenders are making a new push to force the government to start laying off thousands of needless public workers.
The Troika of the European Union-International Monetary Fund-European Central Bank (EU-IMF-ECB) wants the public workforce of nearly one million people reduced by 150,000 over the next three years.
Successive Greek governments since 2010 have promised to begin the process but half-hearted layoff programs have not been implemented after pressure from labor unions.  The website Zougla reported that the Troika wants firings to begin immediately. First to go will be 5,500 clerks in Greek offices which are hugely overstaffed and with records of mass inefficiency.
Also on the firing line are workers who have been disciplined for infractions, for not showing up for work, with psychological and other problems and those who lied about their qualifications. Under Greek law, it’s nearly impossible to get rid of any worker no matter what their transgression.
Some 2,000 workers have been suspended since last year and not transferred to other services, leaving them with nothing to do while getting paid. Another 3,500 considered redundant in four ministries will also go, said the newspaper Ta Nea.
A new schedule from several ministries was presented on Feb. 14 to a government committee on reform with Prime Minister Antonis Samaras presiding. Finance Minister Yiannis Stournaras said after the meeting they hadn’t discussed firings but it was reported that redundant clerks will be placed in other jobs where they wouldn’t be needed either.
The redundant workers will be laid off for a year, receiving 75 percent of their basic salary, and then likely will be fired because their positions will have been eliminated. The government plans to transfer another 2,500 workers with nothing to do to other positions with nothing to do. Of that number, 2000 are being reviewed because they don’t have higher education, little skills and less seniority.
Greek public offices are notorious for being hugely overstaffed with people hired in return for voting for the New Democracy Conservative and PASOK Socialist parties which have taken turns ruling over the last 40 years. Despite huge protests against austerity measures imposed by both parties, they both continue to rule in a coalition government, along with the tiny Democratic Left (DIMAR,) which is in talks with PASOK to merge.
Despite pressure from the Troika, the process to get rid of needless workers is expected to be lengthy, and fiercely fought by unions, which are planning another series of protests and strikes, similar to others over the last three years, none of which have worked as the government continues to impose pay cuts on most workers, except for those in the Parliament and a few other sectors where it’s been reported workers are getting raises while everyone else is having their pay cut.

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