Greece finalises redeployment plan for thousands of civil servants

ATHENS (AFP) - Greece's government on Monday finalised a controversial redeployment scheme that will affect thousands of civil servants and is a condition for the country to receive fresh EU-IMF aid.

"We secured our final decisions, so that the country can be on schedule regarding the redeployment of 12,500 civil servants by the end of September," Administrative Reform Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said after a ministerial meeting held under conservative Prime Minister Antonis Samaras.

Greece has pledged to redeploy 12,500 civil servants by the end of September and another 12,500 by the end of the year, in order to receive the next instalment of its rescue loans.

It has also agreed to axe 4,000 state jobs by the end of 2013, as part of cuts to public spending.

Workers under the scheme have to accept new posts offered to them or spend eight months on reduced salaries trying to find new posts, with the risk of losing their jobs altogether.

Already 4,401 civil servants out of the 12,500 included in the September deadline were redeployed in July, the state-run Athens News Agency reported.

Those were mostly teachers, school wardens and administrative reform ministry employees.

The remaining workers to be put on the scheme - which was the subject of today's ministerial meeting - are expected to mainly come from ministries, the agency added.

The redeployment plan has caused many protests, especially in the health sector where 1,618 doctors and staff from eight hospitals currently in the process of turning into health centres will be transferred.

Now in its sixth year of recession, crisis-hit Greece has been obliged to adopt austerity measures, including pay and pension cuts that have caused widespread resentment, in return for a massive EU-IMF bailout deal.

The main public sector union Adedy plans to hold a protest action on Thursday while teachers threaten to jeopardise the opening of schools in the second week of September with strikes.

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