60.6% of Greeks in favor of drastic public sector cuts ?
(ANSAmed) – ATHENS – A first wave of 2,000 technical public high school teachers, whose jobs parliament abolished last week, were laid off on Monday.
The cut is the first of a long series of workforce reductions international creditors have requested, and is part of a controversial government program to reduce public spending by laying off 15,000 public sector employees this year and another 40,000 by 2014.
School guards will be fired next, with city police to follow beginning on September 23. In spite of union protests, a Kapa Research survey found 60.6% of Greeks are in favor of drastically reducing the public administration sector. Currently employing 700,000 people out a total population of 11 million, it is seen by many as a useless, expensive bureaucratic dinosaur, a reservoir of votes accumulated during decades of nepotism and mismanagement by both the PASOK Socialist party and the center-right Nea Dimokratia party.
The troika (EU-ECB-IMF) on Monday asked Greek banks to cut 25-30% of their workforce, or 18,000 people out of the 60,000 currently employed in the banking sector, Proto Thema online newspaper reported. Paul Tomsen (IMF), Matthias Mors (EU) and Clauss Mazuch (ECB) called on bank directors to start laying people off once the lenders have been recapitalized.
The survey published in the Sunday edition of To Vima newspaper should be music to the ears of conservative Premier Antonis Samaras: 44.6% of respondents would vote him back into office, while 31.4% would prefer young radical left Syriza party leader Alexis Tsipras. Observers pointed to the survey as one of a series of positive signals coming Samaras’ way, both internally and from abroad. German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schauble, a long-time critic of Greece, recently admitted its government has taken ”important steps”, even expressing his support of Samaras with an official visit to Athens. Samaras also scores points with the recent signing of the Trans Adriatic Pipeline agreement, with significant Chinese investments being made in the Athens port, and with his own imminent visit to the US. (ANSAmed).