Letter from a Greek Private Sector Employee to a Public Sector Employee

In the wake of long overdue public sector reforms, brought on by external pressures (Troika), the Greek government apparently submitted legislation to deal more effectively with illegal and unethical behaviour in the public sector. The first article referred to below and published in Bloomberg and on our Twitter feed January 18 refers to this.

The second article, from a fellow blogger, entitled “Letter from a Greek Private Sector Employee to a Public Sector Employee” was posted in Greek originally. We have translated it below for the benefit of our readers because we thought that it goes to the heart of the matter succinctly.

Letter from a Greek Private Sector Employee to a Public Sector Employee

“Dear public servant, DEKO (Public Sector Corporation) employee etc, earning 1300 Euros (monthly), personally I don’t know you so I have no reason to either believe you or not believe your claims that you are not paid well enough by the state for the work that you do. Statistics though, and my empirical experience tell me that you do not even work enough to earn 500 Euros. Despite this, I don’t know whether as a ministry employee you receive two or two and a half thousand Euros just to keep the armchairs in your office warm.

I have no reason to believe that you weren’t receiving the “prompt arrival benefit/bonus,” nor the lump sum pension bonus from your “contributions” (how much more should you be paid?). I don’t know whether you are a tax collection service official receiving kickbacks and extracted bribes from companies so that you don’t impose a “fine,” at the expense of the country of course. I don’t know whether you work in town planning receiving “fakelakia” (little envelopes with cash) from builders to turn a blind eye on their illegalities, at the expense of the state again. I don’t know if you are a teacher who is on holiday for four months of the year and who works 25 hours a week, obliging through your laziness your students to undertake private paid lessons. I don’t know whether you are a customs service official making a little fortune on the side from illegal imports, nor whether you work for DEH (Public Power Corporation) extracting “mizes” (bribes) to award contracts to companies without going to public tender.

If you worked for Olympic Airlines, then you surely stole spare parts and batteries for your car, making sure that the company went under. If you work for OSE, then it’s certain that you had sent goods on consignment on the train system without documentation securing a fee for yourself at the company’s expense of course. If you work for OTE (formerly state owned telephone company), then you surely secured that placement through contacts, a “visma (a power connection)”, joining an already overstaffed company and receiving a fat salary. As an employee of a government television station, you probably never even set foot on the premises. If you are with the police, you would have cancelled traffic violations, you would have engaged in all sorts of illegalities without ever being punished and would have simply enjoyed your coffee and bougatsa whilst on duty being paid a double salary for special assignments. If you declared your occupation as forestry employee, then you would have simply organised a bonus for yourself to turn a blind eye to all the illegal buildings in the forests.  So you’re a member of the military then, eh? Then, at the best of times you would have merely stolen from the army’s food supplies in your capacity as responsible officer for the rations. Perhaps though you work in a hospital and made a cosy arrangement with some suppliers where you issued fake invoices, inflated tenfold, to profit handsomely at the expense of the state. If you are a Public Sector unionist, I don’t even want to think about how fate has treated you cruelly.

I personally, public servant, do not feel sorry for you at all. Thanks to your tolerance and votes and for your convenience and comfort, the Greek public sector grew into the monster that it is. Your contribution was decisive in creating the ogres we call politicians; those incompetents who cannot even follow simple instructions. Swim now, therefore, in the cesspool that was created by your own sewage.”



This entry was posted in BFGPS, Ethics, Greek society, Public administration, Troika and tagged , by Solon. Bookmark the permalink.

About Solon

First coming to prominence for his patriotic exhortations when Athens was fighting a war against Megara for possession of Salamis, Solon, a lyric poet who came from an aristocratic family which traced its ancestry back 10 generations to Hercules was elected eponymous archon in 594/3 B.C. Solon faced the daunting task of improving the condition of debt-ridden farmers, laborers forced into bondage over debt, and the middle classes who were excluded from government, while not alienating the increasingly wealthy landowners and aristocracy. His eventual just reform measures pleased neither the revolutionaries who wanted the land redistributed nor the landowners who wanted to keep all their property intact. Instead, he instituted the seisachtheia by which he canceled all pledges where a man's freedom had been given as guarantee, freed all debtors from bondage, made it illegal to enslave debtors, and put a limit on the amount of land an individual could own. No less daunting are the reform challenges faced in Greece today.

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