Greek gov’t failing to lay off civil servants

Greek gov’t failing to lay off civil servants

ATHENS - Agence France-Presse
Greek gov’t failing to lay off civil servants

Finance Ministry employees block the entrance of the General Accounting office in Athens in this October photo. Civil servants unions, angry at unprecedented staff cuts. AP photo

A key scheme to scale back Greece’s bloated bureaucracy is failing to work, reports said yesterday, as the country prepared a new round of talks with EU-IMF auditors on cuts pledged for debt aid loans.

The government has pledged to axe 30,000 jobs by the end of the year but fewer than 5,000 civil servants have left so far, according to the latest data.

“Eight in 10 staffers earmarked for the labor reserve scheme preferred to file for retirement and civil service officials say the state may be unable to reach the target for 30,000 departures this year, as pledged to the (EU and IMF),” Ta Nea daily said.

The newspaper published figures showing that out of nearly 5,000 public sector staff first in line for the program, nearly 4,000 submitted resignations to qualify for an early pension which it said could cost the state nearly twice as much.

Ta Nea cited the case of a secondary education employee who would be paid 870 euros ($1,160) per month in the job cut scheme but get 1,200 euros with a pension.

Only 515 civil servants have joined the scheme exactly as planned, accepting a two-year work hiatus in return for 60 percent of their normal salary.

At least three key ministries - defense, health and finance - along with half of the municipalities have failed to provide adequate information on their staff cuts, the data showed.

“Ministries and other state entities failed to provide data either because they don’t want to, or cannot,” said Eleftherotypia daily.

Greece, with a population of just 11 million, has an estimated 800,000 civil servants in all.