No 'nasty surprises' in talks with EU-IMF inspectors, interior minister says

There had been no "nasty surprises" for the public sector during his meeting on Tuesday with EU and International Monetary Fund (IMF) inspectors, Interior Minister Yiannis Ragoussis assured reporters.

The minister said the EU-IMF team had raised no objections to the changes announced by the government for reforming the public sector and denied rumours that they had asked for an increase in the ratio of departures to new hirings from 5:1 to 7:1.

He also denied rumours concerning further wage cuts in the public sector, saying that a reduction is the public-sector payroll would be achieved solely through the departure of employees and noting that 53,335 people left the public sector in 2010 alone.

Ragoussis said that their departure would allow the hiring of 10,500 new employees to the public sector that would include the 2,800 transfers from the Greek railways that were already underway.

He noted that requests for new staff from public sector agencies were currently at modest levels and thus no problems were expected to arise with the smooth operation of state services.

Among those that would be hired would be those that passed the exams set by the civil servants' selection board ASEP and those graduating from the Public Administration-Local Administration School, he added.

Based on estimates presented to EU-IMF experts by Ragoussis, an estimated 200,000 public-sector employees will have left the public sector by the end of 2013.

Concerning the new uniform pay scale for the public sector that the government is currently working on, Ragoussis said the troika team had not requested that its implementation be hurried along. At the same time, he emphasised that this would be implemented as quickly as possible and without any transitional period.

According to the minister, the new system would be modern and fairer, correcting the injustices of the previous system and what he called "outrageous" benefits, so that people with the same qualifications and a similar position would receive the same wage, regardless of what service they worked in.

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