A draft presidential decree that will enact the recent measures announced by the government to downsize and reduce the cost of the public sector is near completion, sources at the administrative reform ministry revealed on Wednesday.
The decree, which introduces the uniform public-sector pay scale, the 'labour reserve' measure for the broader public sector and also extends this to over-indebted local authorities, has now been sent to the finance ministry for final processing in terms of its financial impact. The next step that the government is preparing is the 'shrinking' of the civil service.
In its present form, the decree envisages the abolition or merger of several public-sector organisations and agencies, the abolition of special secretariats and the overhaul of 1,000 ministry directorates and departments in order to restrict state spending.
According to Deputy Administrative Reform Minister Dinos Rovlias, it also aims for a rationalised use of public-sector staff, in order to avoid overlapping responsibilities and bureaucracy.
The staff at the bodies and organisations that are abolished or merged will either be transferred to other public-sector agencies or be placed in the 'labour reserve' pool if they have private-sector indefinite contracts. There will also be voluntary retirement programmes or the option of working fewer hours with a corresponding cut in pay.
The government is expected to unveil details concerning the new uniform pay scale within the next few days, which will contain two significant changes. These concern the 'mobility' of public-sector staff, who will also be able to occupy positions of responsibility throughout the public sector, an option previously restricted to managers. The second change involves a drastic reduction in the number of managerial positions in the public sector.
This will be combined with changes to the current system for salary increases, which was previously automatic and based on years of service. Under the new system, staff will undergo assessment every three years under the supervision of the ASEP Council for staff selection in order to acquire a new rank and receive a higher salary.
The new system will additionally envisage a productivity bonus that will go into effect from October 1, the details of which are not yet known.
Protest by public-sector staff outside finance ministry
Staff from the public-sector agencies and organisations facing merger or abolition on Wednesday held a protest outside the finance ministry against the planned changes.
The protest ended on Wednesday afternoon, after a meeting between Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos and representatives of the union coordinating body that organised the rally. After the meeting, the union representatives said that nothing substantial had arisen and called on workers to continue to fight the proposed measures.