Greek civil servants march to protest cuts

About 1,500 people rally in Athens against layoffs and transfers, part of an overhaul of Greek public sector.

Greece protest

About 1,500 civil servants have marched in Athens, police said, to protest job layoffs and transfers that are part of an overhaul of the public sector demanded by Greece’s creditors.

“No layoffs, no transfers,” “All together in the battle against layoffs,” read banners carried by protesters, mostly teachers and ministry employees, who marched to parliament despite a scorching sun on Thursday.

The education ministry had earlier in the day released a list naming 3,495 secondary school teachers of non-priority subjects, like foreign languages, art and music, who were to be transferred either to primary schools or to administrative posts.

“This is a major blow to secondary education,” said Eleni Zografaki, member of secondary school teachers union Olme.

“Foreign language teaching has been reduced, courses have been abolished and teachers’ workloads have increased by two hours per week to cover the gaps that have emerged,” she added.

Greece has agreed to put 12,500 civil servants on a redeployment scheme by the end of September, as part of a general restructuring of its public sector, in return for the next instalment of its EU-IMF rescue loans.

Workers have to accept new posts or spend eight months on reduced salaries as alternative posts are found, with the risk of losing their jobs altogether.

The government already redeployed about 4,000 civil servants at the end of July, mostly teaching staff.

Overall, Greece has agreed to redeploy a total of 25,000 civil servants and axe 4,000 state jobs by the end of the year, as part of cuts to public spending.

Representatives of Greece’s European Union, International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank creditors are expected in Athens at the end of September, to conduct a regular audit.

Source: AFP