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Monday, April 15, 2013

Greece seals deal with debt inspectors

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greece cleared an important hurdle in its drive to receive its next batch of bailout loans after international debt inspectors said Monday they had reached an agreement over the country's economic reforms — including the firing of thousands of civil servants.

In a joint statement, the three institutions said recent steps taken by Greece will mean that targets for March "are likely to be met in the near future" and that the country's debt sustainability "remains on track."

The government and troika have been wrangling for weeks over state-sector job losses, something which hasn't happened during the crisis so far despite pressure from Greece's creditors and massive private-sector unemployment.

The job losses would include sacking those who have been convicted of criminal offenses or disciplinary violations, voluntary departures and from positions that have been axed.

[...] civil servants have been constitutionally guaranteed jobs for life under a law dating from the early 20th century to protect public sector workers from unfair dismissal due to political affiliations.

Greece's civil servants' union, ADEDY, called a demonstration for Wednesday, saying the government was taking advantage of "unacceptable cases of violations and corruption" to cast blame on and make targets of all public sector workers.

Minister for Administrative Reform Antonis Manitakis said Greece's creditors had long been pressing for 15,000 public sector workers to be sacked without being replaced, but the agreement to hire new workers in their stead followed the higher-than-anticipated number of retirements — more than 180,000 of which are expected between 2010-2015.