Apr 28, 2013

Greek MPs To Vote On Mass Job Cuts

The Greek parliament will vote on Sunday on proposals which would see 15,000 state employees lose their jobs by the end of next year.

The bill is part of continuing moves by the centre-right government to cut costs and ensure more bailout money from international creditors.

The law is a condition for Greece to receive the next tranche of loans worth 8.8bn euros (£7.4bn; $11.4bn).

Trade unions have called a protest in the streets outside parliament.

Although debate on the measure began on Sunday morning, a vote was not expected until midnight.

The new law would overturn what had been a constitutional guarantee for civil servants of a job for life.

The sector has been seen as notoriously bloated since it expanded in the 1970s and '80s as successive administrations employed their own people, our correspondent adds.

Some 2,000 civil servants will lose their jobs by the end of June, reports Kathimerini newspaper.

State workers who have broken rules will be targeted for dismissal, but many are expected to be replaced by younger employees in key sectors such as health.

So the law would not slim down the public sector, our correspondent says. That would be achieved by a parallel plan that would see 150,000 state jobs go by the end of 2015, by replacing only some of those who retire.

Adedy, the civil service trade confederation, and the private sector GSEE union called a demonstration outside parliament late on Sunday afternoon against "those politicians who are dismantling the public service and destroying the welfare state".

Critics say the law, which is part of a larger package of measures, will increase Greece's already high unemployment rate of 27%.

The conservative coalition, led by Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, has 167 seats in the 300-seat parliament so the measure is thought likely to pass.
However, there are reports of divisions within his government on some issues and there is speculation he could reshuffle his ministerial team soon.

Eurozone finance ministers are expected to decide on the next instalment of aid for debt-ridden Greece at a meeting on 16 May.

Since 2010, the European Union and the IMF have promised more than 200bn euros in lending for Greece, the first country to be hit by the eurozone crisis.

The government has imposed tough austerity measures in return for aid, including cuts in pay and pensions leading to numerous general strikes.

Source: BBC News


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