The cuts are on the way, with Wednesday set as the deadline for parliamentary approval. Last-minute negotiations over private sector pay and benefit cuts are being conducted by email.
Meanwhile, both Syriza and the fascist Golden Dawn are rising in public oipnion polls, with the radical left Syriza now outpolling coalition senior partner New Democracy and Golden Dawn drawing nearly three times as many nods as the formerly dominant Pasok.
Golden Dawn, meanwhile, is upping the political ante, invoking a favorite word — sub-human — often used by Hitler and his minions, and ferociously defending their use of the Nazi salute. Oh, and they’re threatening to resign from parliament when the cuts come up for a vote, a move that would trigger a new election.
Austerity-afflicted Greeks are abadoning the bodies of loved ones because they can’t afford the cost of burials, and violence is on the rise.
Capitulation to Troika by Wednesday
The Troika’s demands are the coalition’s wishes, and the deal’s all but done.
With €11.5 million in cuts and another €2 million in tax hikes, the package needed to release the next round of bailout cash means more job losses, closure of state agencies, and yet more enduring misery for the Greek people.
And it’s all being done to ensure the country gets the next €31.5 million bailout tranche.
Negotiations over the next few days are likely to focus on the details of structural reforms demanded by Greece’s lenders.
One of the stumbling blocks last week was the coalition government’s resistance to the troika’s request for compensation for sacked workers to be reduced and for automatic three-year pay rises to employees earning the minimum wage to be scrapped.
Sources told Sunday’s Kathimerini that the government is close to an agreement that would see employees who have been with the same employer for a minimum of 16 years maintain their right for compensation equal to 12 months pay. Athens has yet to agree with the troika on whether compensation should be capped beyond that. A decision over the automatic pay increases is also pending.
In terms of public sector dismissals, the government has proposed that 11,000 civil servants who have committed offenses or have been deemed unproductive be fired. However, it may have to agree to another 3,000 bureaucrats losing their jobs after the merging or closure of public bodies.
On Friday night, the Finance Ministry submitted a bill terminating the services of all the heads of departments at tax offices, customs and at the Financial Crimes Squad (SDOE). New heads will be appointed following an evaluation, as requested by the troika.
Read the rest.
According to a second Ekathemerini story, the coalition
is aiming to have the deal wrapped up by Thursday when the Euro Working Group meets. Eurozone technical officials will prepare an assessment on the Greek package that will be passed to finance ministers when they hold talks, possibly via teleconference, on October 29.
Greece will then strive to submit the measures to Parliament and vote on them by November 12, when the Eurogroup will hold its regular meeting. The government aims to give Parliament eight to nine days to debate the measures at a committee and plenary session level. This means the bills would have to be submitted to the House by November 3, so they could be voted on by midnight on November 11 at the latest.
More from Agence France-Presse:
The money is “vital” for Greece and is “crucial to get the economy moving again” and “meeting recurrent expenditure” such as pensions and wages, according to government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou interviewed on public television.
On Friday Samaras said in Brussels he was confident about the payment of the next installment by “the end of November” and about the adoption by the Greek parliament of new savings, while issuing a reminder that the country’s reserves are only adequate until November 16.
He said he was pleased by the “positive” statement by euro zone leaders who hailed Greece’s achievements in carrying out reforms aimed at getting its economy back on track and urged Athens to keep up efforts to stay in the eurozone.
While agreement has been reached that most of the savings will come from cuts in wages and pensions, talks are deadlocked on the steps to increase labour market flexibility demanded by the troika.
Read the rest.
Fate of organized labor decided by email
Deciding on key issue about the fate of a nation’s private sector workforce and the folks who make the decisions have split town?
Just do it by email, the preferred communication of choice of the Men in Black.
Talks between the Greek labour ministry and representatives of the troika (EU, ECB and IMF) on changes to private sector job contracts have resumed by email with representatives of the country’s international creditors who are putting pressure on the government, in particular, to cut by 50% redundancy payments in a retroactive measure starting on January 2012. The troika is also pushing for the reduction of the six-month lay-off notice to three months and the abolition of salary adjustments every three years.
Media in Athens reported that Labour Minister Yannis Vroutsis in a first email sent to the troika outlined the government’s proposal to leave the triennial salary adjustments unvaried because of their “immense political and social symbolic significance”.
The government also reportedly proposed to maintain redundancy payments for employees with a 16-year-long service.
Workers who are fired without notice currently get 12 months of pay. Those who have been employed for over 16 years and get up to 3,000 euros a month will get the same payment as today, under the cabinet’s proposal, while those with over 16 years of employment who earn more than 3,000 euros a month will get the same payments as those earning 3,000 euros.
Amazing, is it not, that the interests of private investors are granted the power, by supra-national organizations, to decide on the fate of private sector workers to ensure that the plutocrats get their last ounce of flesh?
The governments and the representatives of banksters conduct those negotiations by email is merely the crowning touch.
Syriza takes the lead in latest polls
The latest public opinion survey puts the leftist coalition in first place among the sentiments of Greek voters, topping New Democracy, the party of coalition Prime Minister Antonis Samaras.
The other big gainer is the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn, gaining nearly three times as many nods as the formerly dominant Pasok. Syriza and Golden Dawn are the most outspoken opponents of the austerity regime approved by Samaras’s coalition.
Greece’s main opposition Syriza and the far-right Golden Dawn parties are surging in popularity among voters angry at a new wave of wage and pension cuts demanded by foreign lenders, a poll showed on Friday.
If elections were held today, Syriza would win with 30.5 percent of the vote compared with 27 percent for New Democracy, which leads the three-party coalition backing Greece’s foreign bailout, pollster VPRC said in a survey for the “Ellada Avrio” newspaper.
Greeks’ frustration with their political leaders has grown as the coalition prepares to push through the new round of austerity measures to appease lenders and secure more bailout aid and keep the country afloat.
Almost nine in ten Greeks were dissatisfied with their government and 81 percent believed the country was on the wrong track. The share of undecided voters stood at 60 percent, the poll said.
Backing for the ultra-nationalist Golden Dawn, which has been linked to a rise in attacks against migrants in recent months, stood at 14 percent, double their take in June elections that gave the party a foothold in parliament. That would make the group the country’s third largest party.
Read the rest.
More from Athens News:
Specifically, 30.5 percent of the respondents said they would vote for Syriza, up from 30 percent in September, while 27 percent said they would vote for New Democracy, down from 28 percent in September.
14 percent opted for Golden Dawn, up from 12 percent in September, followed by 7 percent for Independent Greeks, 6.5 percent for KKE and 5.5 percent for Pasok, down from 7.5 percent in September. According to the poll, Democratic Left is the last party to enter parliament with 5.5 percent, up from 4.0 percent in September.
One percent went for Creation Again and for Ecologists-Greens, while Laos gained 0.5 percent of the intended vote. 1.5 percent of the respondents opted for “another party”.
To a question on what party they expected would win elections today, regardless of their own party preference, 25.6 percent of the respondents said Syriza, followed by New Democracy with 11.7 percent, Golden Dawn with 6.2 percent, Pasok with 0.5 percent, Democratic Left with 0.2 percent and “no party” with 35.5 percent, while 20.4 percent declined to reply.
As for who is the most suitable for prime minister, 12.4 percent of the respondents opted for current premier Antonis Samaras against 10 percent for Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras, while 52.3 percent replied “no one”.
Read the rest.
From Keep Talking Greece, a chart of the poll results. From Left to right, New Democracy, Syriza, Pasok, Independent Greeks, Golden Dawn, Democratic Left, Communists, Recreate Greece, Greens, and Laos:
Meanwhile, Pasok’s leader bobs and weaves
Evangelos Venizelos, the former deputy prime minister and finance minister under the government of Pasok Prime Minister George Papandreou and his Troiika-appointed replacement Lucas Papademos, is struggling these days.
With Pasok thoroughly discredited in the hearts and minds of Greek voters, thanks in part to the roles Pasok played in creating the crisis during its salad days and its current role as New Democracy’s rubber stamp, Venizelos is making desperate moves to try to recapture credibility.
From Andy Dabilis of Greek Reporter:
With his party falling toward oblivion, PASOK Socialist leader is continuing to defend his support of austerity measures but, in an interview with Sunday’s Kathimerini, refused to say whether he would change his mind and allow some of his members to join Prime Continue reading