Even as troika pressure for cutbacks at state organizations continues as part of a streamlining program, hundreds of staff are to be hired to public transport companies which have been left seriously understaffed by a wave of early retirements and dismissals.

Following a decision by the State Accounting Office last week, 450 employees are to be hired to bolster bus and trolley bus services and another 200 to the Athens metro, electric railway and tram services.

The recent extension of the capital’s metro route has created additional pressure for recruitment. The biggest problem, however, has been the departure of hundreds of staff seeking to clinch early retirement before pensions are trimmed further and the forced dismissal of dozens more who were found to have secured their jobs in the state sector with fake qualifications.