Government spokesman George Petalotis on Wednesday denied that the envisaged uniform pay scale for the public sector would amount to a "haircut" for wages and stressed that it was linked to "social equity between classes of public-sector staff, reducing the huge wage differences from ministry to ministry and organisation to organisation". He said the changes would assert social equity and put the wage scale in order.

Commenting on a reference by IMF managing director Dominique Strauss-Kahn to "expensive wages" in Greece, Petalotis said that there would be no more 'horizontal' cuts.

"On whether social criteria are introduced for the huge differences due to benefits in Greek public-sector wages, this is another matter," he added.