Pub­lic sec­tor hir­ings con­tinue

Min­is­ter says thou­sands of mu­nic­i­pal con­tract work­ers to be hired per­ma­nently, spark­ing op­po­si­tion fire

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

The gov­ern­ment­plans to in­tro­duce an amend­ment that will al­low thou­sands of mu­nic­i­pal con­tract work­ers to be hired on a per­ma­nent ba­sis via the Supreme Coun­cil for Civil Per­son­nel Se­lec­tion (ASEP), Min­is­ter of State Christo­foros Vernar­dakis said in an in­ter­view yes­ter­day.

The move fol­lows an amend­ment in­cluded in a zon­ing bill that was passed in Par­lia­ment be­fore the Christ­mas re­cess whereby tens of thou­sands of con­tract work­ers at mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties around the coun­try, whose jobs were hang­ing in the bal­ance, could be hired on a per­ma­nent ba­sis. The mea­sure be­fore Christ­mas came as thou­sands of peo­ple were on the brink of los­ing their jobs af­ter their con­tracts with lo­cal au­thor­i­ties ex­pired.

How­ever, it raised con­cern among fi­nan­cial au­thor­i­ties, who fear it could de­rail the bud­get and ul­ti­mately pave the way for the im­po­si­tion of new aus­ter­ity mea­sures.

Ac­cord­ing to Bernar­dakis, the amend­ment an­nounced yes­ter­day will pave the way for hir­ings of 10,000 work­ers, mostly mu­nic­i­pal clean­ers but also for peo­ple work­ing at child care cen­ters and other mu­nic­i­pal agen­cies.

Bernar­dakis warned that may­ors who refuse to ex­tend the con­tracts of work­ers on the grounds that the Coun­cil of Au­di­tors has not ap­proved the nec­es­sary fund­ing will be in vi­o­la­tion of the law.

The gov­ern­ment’s main ob­jec­tive now is to over­come the ob­jec­tions raised by the Coun­cil of Au­di­tors to the so-called “Bernar­dakis law,” whereby con­tracts ex­pir­ing at the end of 2016 are ex­tended to the end of 2017. Sim­i­lar ex­ten­sions were given un­til the end of 2016 to con­tracts that ex­pired at the end of 2015. De­spite the fact that the Bernar­dakis law is in ef­fect, the Coun­cil of Au­di­tors has not ap­proved the fund­ing of the wages of those whose con­tracts were ex­tended, say­ing it was un­con­sti­tu­tional.

Hir­ings to the pub­lic sec­tor have be­come an issue of ac­ri­mo­nious de­bate in Par­lia­ment as the gov­ern­ment has come un­der fire for al­legedly seek­ing to “take care of its own.” Ac­cord­ing to main op­po­si­tion New Democ­racy, 8,000 per­ma­nent hir­ings were made in the pub­lic sec­tor in 2016, in­flat­ing wage costs by 150 mil­lion eu­ros. ND also said 27,000 peo­ple were hired as con­tract work­ers. For her part, gov­ern­ment spokesper­son Olga Gerovasili said 2,224 peo­ple have been hired since Septem­ber 2015.

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