ATHENS – Upping the stakes in the critical Jan. 25 elections, the poll-leading major opposition Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) has promised to rehire fired public workers if it wins.
That was the word from Alexis Mitropoulos, a SYRIZA candidate for Attica, who said it would bring back the civil servants he said “were unconstitutionally and unlawfully fired” as part of Greece’s public sector streamlining demanded by international lenders. He didn’t say from where the money would come.
Mitropoulos referred officers of the municipal police force, cleaning ladies, school guards and the workers of former state broadcaster ERT, which was shut down amid controversy in the summer of 2013. Many of them have already been rehired to work for the new national network, NERIT.
Speaking on Parapolitical 90.1 radio, Mitropoulos added that among the first pieces of legislation that would be introduced by a SYRIZA-led government would be a return of the basic salary to 751 euros a month and the so-called 13th salary bonus, as well as the abolition of the ENFIA unified property tax.
But he said he didn’t know how it could be done and that SYRIZA isn’t ready to say what the new tax brackets would be because it has to examine how property values are assessed.
SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras said he would renegotiate with the Troika of the European Union-International Monetary Fund-European Central Bank the harsh austerity terms that came with 240 billion euros ($306 billion) in two bailouts or walk away from the debt, which could leave Greece broke, pushed out of the Eurozone, unable to borrow from the markets and without the money to complete its pledges of restoring salaries, cutting taxes, rehiring workers and ending privatization.
SYRIZA holds a lead over the ruling New Democracy Conservatives of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras who had instituted the measures on orders of the Troika.