Targeted PPC staff exit plan a must to avoid functional issues

A voluntary exit plan envisioned by the new energy minister Costis Hatzidakis for power utility PPC should carefully target a pool of around 2,000 workers primarily maintained as back-up staff rather than specialized, experienced personnel working at the utility’s technical and commercial divisions, so as to avoid any operating issues, company sources have informed.

A plan prepared by consulting giant McKinsey for PPC proposes the reduction of a similar number of staff.

The voluntary exit plan, whose details will need to be honed by PPC’s next chief executive, will cost no less than 30 million euros as each outgoing employee stands to receive severance pay of 15,000 euros.

Precision will be needed when selecting staff for the voluntary exit plan to avoid any operational disruptions at the already-troubled power utility, sources highlighted.

PPC currently employs a total of 9,500 staff members, 65 to 70 percent of these, or 3,000 to 3,500, holding technical positions. A further 800 to 900 are employed in the commercial division, while the back-up staff numbers roughly 2,000 persons.

At present, many PPC units do not possess younger staff possessing sufficient technical skills to replace experienced older personnel. Bailout restrictions have prevented state-controlled PPC from hiring new personnel, which has created a shortage of younger employees ready to take on responsibilities.

“This means that if, for example, five staff members stationed at a island power unit employing ten persons were to leave after reaching retirement age, then this unit would definitely not be able to continue operating,” one highly ranked PPC official warned.

PPC’s payroll cost totaled 790 million euros last year, which works out to an average of 49,000 euros per employee, a costly figure prompted by a high average age of over 50 and correspondingly elevated pay packages.