Greece: Public employees, Athens swindles Troika

Fired from jobs and re-hired from the back door

25 June, 17:00

(ANSAmed) - ATHENS, JUNE 25 - Four ministers of the former government of Giorgos Papandreou are apparently among the principle culprits for the failure of the Greek memorandum. The news has emerged yesterday from a report by representatives of the Troika (The IMF, EU and ECB). As a matter of fact, according to the document handed to the new officers of the ministry by outgoing finance minister Giorgos Zanias and published on the esteemed weekly magazine To Vima (The Tribune), three ministries - Health, Citizen Protection and Culture and Tourism, plus local committees and agencies, have actually increased instead of decreased their employees in 2010-2011, something which had been agreed upon with the EU authorities.

The report states that "The ministers, while making laws on the reduction of state employees, were hiring others to fill in the gaps and the political agenda and while they were proceeding to approve the law known as "Kallicratis", to proceed with the fusion of a number of councils and save over 1.5 billion euros, went on to hire over 12,000 employees." In 2010, as it seems from the report, over 53,000 government employees went on pension, but the number of hired workers remained more or less unvaried: 692,301 units, which basically translates into the fact that almost all of the places which were left free were replaced with new employees being hired. In 2011, when the Troika has already imposed the rule for which every five pensioners there would be only one new employee, 40,025 workers went on pension. Nonetheless, the number decreased only by 24,266 units.

To Vima reports that "the biggest fun" was had by the local committees and agencies where in 2011, 12,000 employees were hired. It is clear that the reform wanted by the minister of the Interior Gianni Ragusis failed due to the incapability to control the economic situation in the sector. Another sector in which the reduction of employees failed is that of the Health ministry where the former minister Andreas Loverdos, other than the hiring carried out in his own ministry to make up for the positions freed after the pensioning, even approved the hiring of about 6,000 employees in the National Health System (ESY) which today gives work to about 90,000 people with dreadful results which are only too familiar with Greeks needing assistance.

The situation hasn't improved either at the ministry of civil protection where according to the report, former minister Michalis Chissochoidis went ahead to fill the gaps created by the pre-pensioning plan of those who were afraid of further cuts in salary and of the prolonging of the years of service necessary to reach a pensionable age. In 2010 2,257 new workers were hired, whereas the Troika is in search of at least 500 people "hired in a very vague manner".

Instead of diminishing, the number of officials has risen also at the ministry of culture and tourism in the period in which Pavlos Geroulanos was minister. In the 2010-2011 biennium, there were 1,000 new people hired. After all it is clear that nothing was done even to move out 150,000 jobs from state administration as had been agreed upon between the Greek government and the Troika.

The agreement also foresaw the abolition of the State agencies which were not being employed and the acceleration of procedures to ascertain the real working validity of the staff which should be completed within 2012 with the abolition of 15,000 jobs. To all of this one must also add the double electoral vote in just 40 days with negative consequences in the administrative sector of the state, because as they say in Greece, "it already doesn't work when it should, never mind during the elections." (ANSAmed).

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