Wage rul­ing rat­tles gov’t

Leaked court de­ci­sion deems salary cuts for armed forces, se­cu­rity ser­vices il­le­gal

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

A de­ci­sion by the coun­try’s high­est ad­min­is­tra­tive court, leaked to the me­dia yes­ter­day and ex­pected to be made pub­lic over the next month, has deemed un­con­sti­tu­tional the wage cuts made to mem­bers of the armed forces and emer­gency ser­vices in 2012, mean­ing that the gov­ern­ment is likely to be obliged to pay back those af­fected by the mea­sure.

Al­though the ex­act de­tails, and the reper­cus­sions, of the Coun­cil of State’s de­ci­sion re­mained un­clear, the news caused up­heaval within the gov­ern­ment amid con­cerns about where the money will come from to pay back with­held salaries. There were also wor­ries that the de­ci­sion could spur sim­i­lar de­mands by other civil ser­vants whose salaries have been cut as part of belt­tight­en­ing pledged by Greece to the troika. There are fears that the cost to the state cof­fers could be in ex­cess of 400 mil­lion eu­ros.

Gov­ern­ment spokesman Si­mos Kedikoglou said au­thor­i­ties would re­spect the court’s de­ci­sion, once it has been made pub­lic and its rea­son­ing elab­o­rated. But other se­nior of­fi­cials ex­pressed con­cern. An­dreas Pa­pamimikos, the sec­re­tary of con­ser­va­tive New Democ­racy, which leads the rul­ing coali­tion, con­ceded that “we will have prob­lems as re­gards where to find the money.” Health Min­is­ter Ado­nis Ge­or­giadis was, char­ac­ter­is­ti­cally, more scathing. “No mat­ter how many court de­ci­sions there are, we won’t sud­denly be able to gen­er­ate money,” he said.

Ac­cord­ing to sources, the court deemed un­con­sti­tu­tional the fact that the de­ci­sion to cut the wages was voted through Par­lia­ment in De- cem­ber of 2012 but ap­plied retroac­tively from Au­gust of that year. It re­mained un­clear whether the de­ci­sion to cut salaries has been deemed un­con­sti­tu­tional it­self. If so, it could set a prece­dent for other groups of civil ser­vants to seek sim­i­lar rul­ings.

The de­ci­sion re­gard­ing the armed forces and emer­gency ser­vice staff, as well as a sim­i­lar de­ci­sion in fa­vor of ju­di­cial of­fi­cials, are ex­pected to be dis­cussed dur­ing a new round of ne­go­ti­a­tions be­tween the gov­ern­ment and troika of­fi­cials, who are ex­pected in Athens at the end of the month.

Ac­cord­ing to sources, se­nior ju­di­cial of­fi­cials yes­ter­day dis­cussed other ap­peals in­clud­ing those by in­de­pen­dent bod­ies whose staff want wage cuts to be deemed un­con­sti­tu­tional.

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