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Greece Will Close 200 Debt-Buried Post Offices, Shed 1800 Workers

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(Photo by Eurokinissi/Sotiris Dimitropoulos)

ATHENS - Crushed by debt during the age of social media and email, Greece’s postal system ELTA will close 200 offices and not replace more than 1,800 workers set to retire this year as a way to cut costs.

Under the plan, which must be approved by the state-run postal service's directors, another 994 employees are scheduled to be removed from the payroll through voluntary retirements over the next five years, through 2024, said the business newspaper

ELTA is seeing falling revenues and higher operating costs along with formidable competition, adding to its growing debt in recent years.

The union representing postal workers is opposed to further staff reductions and indicated it would strike on Jan. 22.

The postal service reportedly incurred debts of more than 557 million euros ($632.86 million) in 2017, said Kathimerini earlier.

Unidentified sources from the company said that the company has consistently posted negative cash flows and is at risk of not being able to service current expenses.

The problem, the same sources said, is 208 million euros ($236.33 million)  in revenues owed by the state for postal services provided to remote parts of the country for the 2013-15 period.

The real problem at ELTA is not just unpaid postal services by the state, but the company’s failure to adapt to the digital age and huge payroll costs, the paper said.

At the end of 2016 the number of ELTA staff was 7,186, a jump of 159 in 2015 and the total wage cost (salaries, contributions and benefits) had reached 223.72 million euros ($254.92 million,) an average monthly cost per employee of 2,594 euros ($2947.29).