ATHENS – As political rivals say Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, who plummeted in polls after reneging on anti-austerity promises, is frantically trying to curry favor and buy votes, his Administration is planning to hire 2100 extra trash collectors.
Current workers, who have struck previously, demanded their temporary contracts become permanent and that they be given lifetime jobs at the same time thousands of other workers have lost theirs during a crushing 7 ½-year-long economic crisis.
Interior Minister Panos Skourletis, who has given in to the union on virtually every front, told SKAI TV that the hirings will meet “municipalities real needs,” and that the workers should have permanent jobs while thousands of others on short-term contracts don’t.
The country’s international creditors, who wanted scores of thousands of workers fired, have no objections so far to the new hirings, the newspaper Kathimerini said, even though many municipalities said they don’t have the money to hire the new workers and will have to put additional levies on residents.
Skourletis though said the jobs might not all go go those now working at municipal cleaning service, as all qualified people will be considered for the positions although governments typically pack public payrolls with their own people in that case.
The estimated 10,000 contract workers currently employed in municipalities’ sanitation departments will remain at their posts until March 31, 2018 at the latest, when their contracts expire.
Earlier in the year, Skourletis had sought to extend those contracts beyond their initial 24-month limit but was forced to back down after the Council of State ruled it would violate the Constitution and European Union law.
He also has agreed to cushy terms for workers at at local government organizations (OTA), including reduced hours, more vacations and for new hirings and after they went on strike said he was willing to make more concessions to satisfy them.