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Greek public sector reform starts with 30,000 layoffs


10:24, November 29, 2011

ATHENS, Nov. 28 (Xinhua) -- The first phase of public sector reform started in Greece on Monday with a labor reserve plan that sends to early retirement some 30,000 public servants this year.

The move came ahead of a crucial European Finance Ministers meeting this week on the release of the sixth tranche of aid to avert a default in December.

The scheme was agreed earlier this year between the government of former Prime Minister George Papandreou and international creditors in exchange for further bailout funds.

According to the plan, public servants close to retirement age, who have worked for at least 33 years and are placed in labor reserve, will receive 60-percent reduced salary for one year. If by the end of the year they fail in finding a new post in the public service, they will be dismissed on full pensions.

As thousands posts in the public sector are abolished through mergers and shutdown of state-run organizations, the prospects of a return to service for them is dim.

The second phase of the program involving tens of thousands more employees is expected to start on January as Greece aims to reduce up to 150,000 jobs in the public sector by 2015.

According to estimates, up to one million people are working in the public sector in a country of some four-million working force.

However, the program has stirred strong reactions among opposition political parties and labor unions who argue that the measure will cause malfunctions in the public services due to shortages of personnel.

Employees in the public and private sector are expected to show their disapproval over the plan and a new 24-hour general strike is being called by their umbrella unions ADEDY and GSEE on December 1.


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