Members of the civil service union Pasydy working in the state environment department on Wednesday called on the government to exempt their service from a possible hiring freeze, saying they urgently need additional staff.
Pasydy’s branch for environment department employees said in an announcement that despite a large number of studies since 2011, including by the World Bank, the European Commission and the Council of Europe, calling for reinforcements for the department, a freeze has been in place due to the economic crisis.
Even though it was well known that the Department of the Environment was understaffed and could not deal with its enormous workload, quick fix solutions had been introduced periodically such as secondments from other departments of the agriculture ministry and purchase of private sector services.
In 2018, the union said, a budget had been put aside for hiring additional staff for 2019 but the finance ministry did not fully unfreeze the new posts, the union said.
In addition, it said, rumours abound over a complete freeze in the new public sector positions as a countermeasure by the government to the recent decision of the Administrative Court to restore the salaries of civil servants.
“At the same time, the requirements for environmental issues are increasing with geometric progress due to the continuous increase of requirements at European level but also due to the rapid economic growth in our country which, given the existing situation, inevitably makes it impossible for the Department of Environment to tackle these ever-increasing demands.”
If the department is not given extra staff important issues and development projects related to environment protection will be delayed considerably, the union said.