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Athens News Agency: News in English, 06-11-17

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Public sector contract workers issue causes heated debate in Parliament

  • [01] Public sector contract workers issue causes heated debate in Parliament

    The long-standing political "thorn" involving tens of thousands of public sector contract employees -- mostly municipal workers -- landed in Parliament on Friday amid heated debate, with Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis himself taking the podium to answer tabled questions on the matter by the opposition.

    "The state cannot become the employer of an unlimited number of people. It is impossible to have half of Greeks working in the public sector and being paid by the other half," Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis underlined.

    "This demand is merely ill-timed opportunism and hypocritical populism, or even worse, it reveals a certain mentality, namely, that all or almost all Greeks should become civil servants."

    Moreover, the premier noted that his ruling New Democracy government rejects both populism and a perpetual expansion of the state via mass hirings, "to the detriment of taxpayers and society as a whole."

    Responding to relevant questions by main opposition PASOK deputy Dinos Rovlias, Communist Party (KKE) General Secretary Aleka Papariga and Coalition of the Left (Synaspismos) leader Alekos Alavanos over the temporary contract workers' issue, Karamanlis stressed that his government fulfilled its commitments, in accordance with the Constitution and a relevant EU Directive, to change the status of individuals covering "fixed and permanent needs" into indefinite work contracts. He also reminded that the government implemented a bonus point scale for those that didn't qualify under this category.

    Regarding the issue of employees hired by municipalities and prefectures, Karamanlis said hirings officially requested by mayors will be approved immediately.

    Conversely, he caustically lashed out at opposition PASOK, saying it was a provocation for those (successive PASOK governments) directly responsible for causing this problem to now assume the role of accuser.

    Regarding an amendment tabled by PASOK deputies this past week, Karamanlis said it cannot be accepted because it violates the principle of separation of powers, abolishes the authority of the State Audit Council and is unconstitutional.

    "It is odd that PASOK pretends to find solutions while in the opposition and creates problems while in government," Karamanlis charged.

    Furthermore, in emphasising his point, Karamanlis said past practices have bestowed on the country amongst the highest levels of civil servants in the European Union, while at the same time demands for more hirings continue.

    "The truth is that there is a manpower shortage, but in specialised positions," he said.


    On his part, PASOK deputy Dinos Rovlias maintained that New Democracy's pre-election promise to give tenure status to contract workers "hijacked" tens of thousands of votes.

    He added that promises have turned into layoffs and the place of those fired has been taken by new temporary contract workers. Rovlias appealed to all sides to adopt a PASOK-sponsored June 2006 draft law stipulating that where hirings are needed such will come via the Supreme Staff Selection Council, thus putting an end to arbitrary hirings and clientelism, as he said.


    KKE leader Papariga underlined what she called the "fixed and permanent" need for a steady job and pay that workers have.

    She said KKE does not want to seek "retribution" for "costless pre-election promises" made by PASOK or New Democracy. She demanded that all temporary contract workers be hired in order to fill new personnel needs in sectors such as social services, as she said.

    Finally, the communist party head said laws and the Constitution can change to allow for a solution.

    Synaspismos president Alavanos said the current government is competing with the current main opposition in its harshness.

    Alavanos stated that he is impressed by the fact that the Supreme Court's leadership operates as a New Democracy subsidiary, as he claimed.

    Caption: A scene from the debate in Parliament on Friday, Nov. 17, 2006. ANA-MPA photo / K. Mavrona.

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