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GreekReporter.comGreeceDiaspora Bureau Takes Staff Cuts

Diaspora Bureau Takes Staff Cuts

imagesThe General Secretariat for Greeks Abroad, an agency founded 30 years ago to help facilitate relations with the Diaspora, could be in jeopardy after 10 of its 51 staff members were put into the government’s mobility scheme, which means they will be paid 75 percent of their already-reduced pay and then fired in eight months if other positions can’t be found for them.
But even if they do land a job in another agency, the Diaspora secretariat is losing much of its ability to operate. The government is putting 25,000 workers into the scheme and many of them are expected to be fired, primarily lower-paid workers including school nurses, janitors, crossing guards, municipal police and clerks while Parliament workers, who have been exempted from more austerity measures after threatening to strike, have also been excluded from the plan to reduce the size of the public workforce.
is before a critical situation, as ten of its staff members are suspended, in the framework of the mobility scheme for the restructuring of the public sector. According to the provisions of the mobility scheme, public servants are suspended and are to be paid 75% of their wages for a period up to eight months, until they are transferred to another position. If there’s no position available, they face dismissal. The Greek government intends to place 25,000 public servants on the scheme by the end of 2013.
The Greek Secretariat for Greeks Abroad is an autonomous Secretariat which was founded in 1983 and belongs to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Greece which is now under the jurisdiction of Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos, the PASOK Socialist leader who was brought into the coalition government led by Prime Minister and New Democracy Conservative leader Antonis Samaras to give him a majority in Parliament.
During the 30 years of its operation the Secretariat has organized educational camping programs in Greece for children of the Greek community abroad and has invited to Greece hundreds of low income pensioners. It has also offered financial support to several universities abroad in support of Modern Greeks Studies and to many organizations of the Greek diaspora around the world, among which is the Greek Australian Network of Festivals.
The Secretariat of Greeks Abroad faces a serious predicament, as after the replacement of the secretary by a general manager in previous years, now loses a significant part of its staff, with the suspension of 10 out of its 51 remaining employees. The ten to be let go were the most recently hired, going against Administrative Reform Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ pledge to have employees reviewed before being dismissed and to give jobs to younger workers.
All were former employees of the old National Institute of Repatriated Greeks, which closed and were transferred and employed with indefinite contracts. The suspension of these employees pushes the Secretariat to a higher risk of extinction, as its remaining employees will be retired within next three to four years.
The union of the employees of the Secretariat expressed its disagreement but was ignored. Officials in charge haven’t made any statement yet, regarding the future if the Greek Secretariat for Greeks Abroad or if it will shut down.

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