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Greek Court To Probe Parliament Worker Pay

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Even as Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras has vowed to make another attempt to cut their pay and benefits, the Court of Audit is investigating the government’s decision to exempt parliamentary workers from cuts in pay and benefits as part of a $17.45 billion spending cut and tax hike plan that came down heavy on other workers, pensioners and the poor.

The government gave in to the parliamentary workers who threatened to walk out immediately during a Nov. 7 debate on the package if they were not exempted. If they had stopped working, the government feared it wouldn’t be able to take a vote on the measures that are being demanded by international lenders in return for a long-delayed $38.8 billion installment. Samaras said the government would run out of money on Nov. 16 otherwise.

House employees hit back at claims that they earn excessive salaries and benefits from privileges not available to other civil servants although many of their duties are routine, such s opening doors, handing out water and during other mundane chores that require little education or training. Their salaries are higher than many other government workers.

A decision to launch the probe was taken after the government hastily removed a last-minute amendment that would have brought parliamentary staff’s pay in line with the rest of the civil service. The Court of Audit argued that there are no grounds for parliamentary staff to be exempt from changes in the rest of the public sector. Judges are among those who will have deep pay cuts and are conducting work slowdowns.

It has suggested that Article 65 of the Constitution grants Parliament independence with regard to the way it exercises its role as a democratic institution but that this exclusivity does not extend to the wages and benefits of its staff.

Parliamentary workers, meanwhile, issued a statement arguing that they were being victimized. They said that reports they get 16 monthly salaries were incorrect as the extra wages they were once paid have been cut.

The employees also pointed out that they work different hours to the rest of the civil service as parliamentary sessions sometimes take place in the evening or on weekends, although the parliament is idle much of the year. “We are not asking for pity… but this is a long way from us accepting being made the scapegoats for a situation we did not create,” the staff said in their statement.

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  • John Netherlands

    Very strange. Politicians caused this mess, by not creating a proper system in the past. Also cheating with figures to the EU. They should also bear the consequences, as ordinary people do. Parliament is sitting in the same boat. Do not allow exemptions, please.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ange.kenos Ange T Kenos

    There are MANY causes of the economic crisis. BUT! The politicians need to wake up. Reduce their numbers. reduce numbers of local government councillors. Reduce their pay. reduce MP benefits and those of ex MPs. AND CUT THE SALARIES OF PARLIAMENTARY STAFF. Then, if they have real courage, stop paying the salaries of the clergy and allow the church to do so as we do in Australia with our Orthodox priests.

  • The maverik

    The Greek muppet show, the Greek bordellokratia…Another probe…Another cover up…Thats why we have expensive quilts in Greece…

  • The maverik

    Ange, you are dreaming. Greek politicians will not do that, they prefer the country to be in this mess so they can be in power, they want to make us think that they are our saviors protecting us from disaster. We all know that Greek politicians past and present are corrupt either direct or indirect ways, each one has responsibilities to protect us but all they did is protecting their interests and not of the people and the country…

  • lowtar

    Clientelism is one of the key problems of Greece. At least the Greek should be smart enough not to show of this ugly side of their “system” to the world and their donors.