Main power utility PPC has decided to put on hold a mandatory retirement plan for aged staff members who have already met retirement requirements but chosen to stay on. The utility intends to reexamine the issue in 2017, officials said.
Struggling to combat tight finances, the corporation announced yesterday that 200 staff members, all aged over 60, will be forced to retire. However, the cost-cutting plan’s postponement for next year could ultimately increase the manadatory retirement figure to anything between 400 and 600 persons, energypress sources informed. Most of these prospective retirees are aged over 62 and have been employed at PPC for over 40 years.
These staff members were supposed to have retired several years ago but, in 2012, as part of Greece’s second bailout, the long durations of their work contracts wth PPC, essentially guaranteeing lifetime employment, were transformed and made indefinite, the intention being to enable job cuts. This change lifted age limits. However, no government has possessed the political courage to implement the plan and cut jobs at the state-controlled utility.
The mandatory retirement plan for personnel exceeding age limits was not discussed at a board meeting held by PPC yesterday as a result of a negative reaction by Genop, the utility’s main union group. The issue has preoccupied the corporation’s board for years, on an informal basis. Avoidance of the political cost entailed has increased the scale of the problem.
The payroll’s average age at PPC has risen as the utility’s retirement rate has dwindled while, at the same time, new recruits are not permitted because of bailout measures applied to confront Greece’s bloated public sector in general.
Unlike other public sector firms, whose longer-serving staff members are rushing to retire to avoid any further social security cuts, PPC’s remuneration packages, which include generous bonuses, have driven its employees to stay on.
The numbers speak for themselves. In 2010, 2,500 PPC staff members retired. The figure dropped to 1,500 in 2011, then fell to levels of between 700 and 800 in the ensuing years, and dropped to just 150 last year.