Bill pledging wage hikes, jobs under scrutiny
A draft bill due to be debated in Parliament this week, aiming to grant job security, and wage increases, to several categories of public sector workers has come under the scrutiny of representatives of the country’s international creditors.
A European Commission official indicated over the weekend that Greece’s lenders are aware of some aspects of the new bill but intend to assess it in its entirety.
Government officials had initially indicated that the bill would regulate the situation with local authority workers, thousands of whom have been employed on renewable shortterm contracts for years. However, with its wealth of wage increases and benefits, the legislation is apparently designed to appease workers following a series of recent protests, notably protracted strike action by garbage collectors last month.
The likely fiscal impact of the measures remains unclear, hence the intervention by foreign auditors.
In a related development, a ruling by the State Audit Council has paved the way for the disbursement of months of unpaid wages to thousands of municipal sanitation workers on expired short-term contracts. Accord- ing to the ruling, the workers should be paid as, although they were not on contract during the first few months of this year, they fulfilled their duties. However, the court deemed that the extension of those workers’ contracts until the end of the year, as the government has pledged, would be a violation of Greece’s Constitution and of European regulations.