Greek parliament set to vote on massive job cuts


A protester's silhouette is seen behind a banner which reads "the measures won't apply" as demonstrators gather in front of the parliament in Athens on April 28, 2013. Greek trade unions staged a protest ahead of a parliament vote on a bill that would spur unprecedented public sector job cuts to meet conditions set by Athens' creditors for billions in bailout loans.


Louisa Gouliamaki

The Greek Parliament will vote Sunday evening on a law that would see the laying off of 15,000 public sector workers.

The draft law would also reduce a 15 percent property tax and make it easier to hire and fire civil servants.

The workers would be dismissed by 2014, while the first 4000 would be let go by the end of this year.

The bill's scope would be unprecedented in severity after years of austerity measures has left nearly 30 percent of Greeks jobless - a figured that has tripled since 2009.

Greece has a staggering 700,000 civil employees in a nation of less than 11 million people.

The new measures are necessary to secure the next 2.8 billion euro installment of the international bailout by the EU and IMF.

The new bill is being touted by the conservative government as a path to meritocracy as the dismissal will include those who have been found incompetent or guilty of corruption.

It will also include those working for government agencies and bodies that are being eliminated.

“This is not a human sacrifice," said Prime Minister Antonis Samaras in a press conference.

“It’s an upgrading of the public sector and its one demand of Greek society.”

It is believed that Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras has enough seats in parliament for the measure to pass with 167 seats in the 300-seat parliament.

Trade unions in Greece have protested in front of the parliament most of Sunday.

The unions say the cuts will push up the fast increasing unemployment rate.