First hir­ings, now rights

Min­is­ter wants to boost con­tract work­ers’ en­ti­tle­ments to level of per­ma­nent staff

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

A day af­ter herald­ing 10,000 new per­ma­nent hir­ings to the Greek civil ser­vice, Min­is­ter of State Chris­tos Vernar­dakis de­clared the gov­ern­ment’s in­ten­tion to boost the rights of con­tract work­ers in the pub­lic sec­tor to the same level as per­ma­nent em­ploy­ees.

In­vok­ing a rul­ing by the Euro­pean Court last year, Vernar­dakis said the left­ist-led coali­tion aims to of­fer some 40,000 civil ser­vants on short-term con­tracts the same rights in terms of wages and dis­missal as full-time staff. “A piv­otal as­pect [of the plan] is the restora­tion of col­lec­tive wage bar­gain­ing,” Vernar­dakis said, re­fer­ring to a key stick­ing point in stalled ne­go­ti­a­tions between Greek gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials and rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the coun­try’s in­ter­na­tional cred­i­tors.

Ac­cord­ing to the gov­ern­ment’s plan, the ef­fi­cient im­ple­men­ta­tion of a mo­bil­ity scheme will al­low con­tract work­ers to fill va­can­cies for per­ma­nent jobs. “We have a per­ma­nent job and we have an em­ployee with a par­tic­u­lar work con­tract who will sim­ply as­sume this job,” Vernar­dakis said.

The min­is­ter ad­mit­ted that the gov­ern­ment’s in­ten­tion is to hire staff to the pub­lic sec­tor, par­tic­u­larly to state hos­pi­tals which suf­fer from woe­ful short­ages. “When you have a pub­lic sec­tor that has lost around 400,000 peo­ple since 2010, all its de­part­ments are un­der­staffed,” Vernar­dakis said. “Is there any­one who says there should be no hir­ings in the health sec­tor?”

The min­is­ter also re­buffed claims by the po­lit­i­cal op­po­si­tion ac­cord­ing to which 27,000 em­ploy­ees were hired to Greece’s pub­lic sec­tor last year.

In com­ments to Skai TV, con­ser­va­tive New Democ­racy’s vice pres­i­dent Ado­nis Ge­or­giadis ac­cused the gov­ern­ment of pop­ulist tac­tics aimed at boost­ing its flag­ging for­tunes, not­ing that any re­cruit­ments car­ried out now will sim­ply be over­turned by Greek courts at a later date as they will not have been ap­pointed via com­pe­ti­tion. “The orgy of hir­ings SYRIZA is car­ry­ing out right now is un­prece­dented,” he said. “They are do­ing it purely and sim­ply to win the votes of those peo­ple who they are dup­ing be­cause, as soon as the courts sit, those peo­ple will lose those jobs, how­ever many laws SYRIZA ap­proves.”

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