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ATHENS – Ministers in Greece’s uneasy coalition government are feuding over more public worker layoffs just as government officials are set to meet with international lenders in Paris to talk about unfinished reforms an reducing the number of civil servants.

New Education Minister Andreas Loverdos from the PASOK Socialists is battling with Administrative Reform Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis from the ruling New Democracy Conservatives of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, who hasn’t stepped between them yet.

Loverdos said he would refuse to fire any of 1,050 university administrative staff designed as redundant and set to be put into a so-called “mobility scheme” in which they would receive 75 percent of already-reduced pay and then lose their jobs if another position couldn’t be found for them in eight months.

While critics said the country’s universities are far overstaffed with political hires, Loverdos dug in his heels and said there were actually too few staff and defied Mitsotakis’ order to let go those who’ve already been identified to be put into the scheme.

Compounding the dilemma for Samaras is that PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos – who was made Deputy Premier/Foreign Minister after supporting the firing of all 2,653 workers at the now-defunct ERT national broadcaster last year now has changed his mind with his party sinking in the polls and doesn’t want any more layoffs or firings.

Government officials tried to downplay the increasingly nasty split but Samaras, needing PASOK’s votes to have a bare two-vote majority in the 300-member Parliament, hasn’t said anything about it nor sided with either of the ministers in his Cabinet.

Loverdos has also changed his position. As Minister of Health in a previous PASOK Administration, he said “The one million public sector employees who keep causing trouble for 10 million people, thinking that their jobs are safe for life,  is what brought our country to this position,” referring to a crushing economic crisis caused largely by both PASOK and New Democracy hiring hundreds of thousands of needless workers in return for votes.

Kathimerini said tha sources at the Education Ministry insisted that the leadership there was committed to fulfilling the government’s pledges to its international creditors as long as they didn’t come from its sector. Nor did they not refer directly to Loverdos or his refusal to go along with Samaras’ orders.

Administrative Reform Ministry officials insisted that Mitsotakis would go ahead with plans to honor commitments to the Troika of the European Union-International Monetary Fund-European Central Bank but so far Samaras isn’t standing by his man.

Interior Minister Argyris Dinopoulos from New Democracy told SKAI that, “No minister should look out for their own ministry alone,” or no one would cut anything.

But he also insisted that there would be no dismissals of local authority employees, who come under the supervision of his ministry, and that additional time would be given for transfers of staff from one municipality to another as part of the broader civil service overhaul, contradicting himself.


The post Tense Battle Over Worker Layoffs Causes Greek Coalition Rift appeared first on The National Herald.

Source: The National Herald
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