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SYRIZA Charged With Packing Railway Agency With Patronage Hires

ATHENS – After vowing to cut political hirings, the ruling Radical Left SYRIZA has continued to pack public payrolls with favorites, adding 424 workers to the railway carriage maintenance firm Rosco as it’s about to be privatized.

Major rival New Democracy Vice-President Costis Hatzidakis said the hirings were made between December 2016 and January of this year, more than doubling the number of people employed by the state agency.

It wasn’t said what their duties were, if any, or why additional workers were needed and would be picked up by private interests or if they were from SYRIZA, which said it would stop the practice it criticized former ruling parties used for decades.

Hatzidakis tabled a parliamentary question to Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos and Transport Minister Christos Spirtzis, citing data from the government’s own Diavgia website which is required to show public records of financial matters.

While Rosco is set to be sold to private investors, the state privatization fund TAIPED didn’t reveal the hirings as Hatzidakis said they put on the public payroll.

He claimed the government boosted Rosco’s revenues from railway service operator Trainose for carriage maintenance, and then offset it with the rental fees Trainose is supposed to pay to state railway property company Gaiaose.

If his claims are correct, then Gaiaose will have to account for the deficit in its coffers during an ongoing economic and austerity crisis.

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