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Last Updated: Wednesday, 14 March 2007, 13:40 GMT
No more slouching, Greeks told
By Malcolm Brabant
BBC News, Athens

Prokopis Pavlopoulos
Mr Pavlopoulos is making a civil service career less attractive
Greek civil servants have been told that most of them will have to remain at their desks during the hottest months of the summer.

Greece's government traditionally grinds to a halt in August, but this is about to change.

The interior minister, Prokopis Pavlopoulos, has decreed that from 1 July until 15 September, two out of three civil servants must be at work.

This is the latest initiative to try to make Greece more efficient.

Siestas

Once upon a time, Greek parents encouraged their children to become civil servants.

Salaries weren't great, but it was a secure job for life, with a good pension that could be taken early.

There was power and little responsiblity, and best of all, minimal working hours, clocking off at 2pm for a siesta, or to start a second job, as well as the opportunity to vanish for the whole of August.

For decades, Greece has been paralysed for the summer because of initially-sanctioned inertia, but not anymore.

Perks threatened

The government wants to put a halt to these practices and try to bring Greek civil servants in line with the rest of Europe.

Whether or not it means that more business will get done in the summer is an open question.

Civil servants can be surly creatures at the best of times, but now that their perks have been cut still further, they're unlikely to become more charming.




SEE ALSO
Country profile: Greece
30 Nov 06 |  Country profiles
Timeline: Greece
14 Mar 07 |  Country profiles



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