A group low-grade civil servants said on Wednesday it is imperative that their representatives be present at a discussion next week on pay rises for civil servants.

The meeting, pegged to be held at the presidential palace on October 30, will focus on salaries of civil servants.

Finance Minister Makis Keravnos said he would look at ways of increasing the salaries of public employees on the A2-A5-A7 pay scales, while he would not accept any further pay increases from representatives of unions for higher civil service grades.

“The participation of representatives at the discussion is a democratic right and will contribute to the development of a just and acceptable solution for all,” the low-grade civil servants said in an announcement.

Meanwhile, a report in daily Politis said on Wednesday that pay rises for higher grade civil servants will rise further next year.

According to the daily, as of January 1 this year, all civil servants receiving over €2,000 per month net had all reductions placed on their salaries in 2012 removed, meaning the payroll would increase.

The restoration of wages to their original form, in combination with the cost-of-living allowance granted to the civil servants, and the raises given at the beginning of the year, sent the state payroll through the roof.

In the 2023 state budget spending of €3.2 billion to cover the salaries, pensions and gratuities of staff and officials was included compared to €3 billion in 2022. According to the 2024 state budget, which is pending in parliament for a vote, the state payroll will rise by around 14 per cent, translating to nearly €500 million, pushing total staff costs, including pensions and gratuities, to €3.7 billion for the new year. The increase in the state payroll by approximately €500 million in 2024 is mainly due to the increased indexation allowances that will be granted and the increased contributions that will be paid by the state to the insurance funds of state employees, such as social insurance fund and national health scheme (Gesy).

Publishing details the accountant-general’s office showcased the increases that some state officials are set to receive.

In 2024, MPs are set to start receiving a net salary of close to €5,000 per month (€4,991), while ministers and deputy ministers will get €5,883.

The 2024 budget projects a surplus of €659 million, equivalent to 2.2 per cent of GDP. Development spending shows a 12 per cent increase on an annual basis, while social benefits are up by 15 per cent compared to 2023, reaching €2bn. Additionally, there is a restraint on public sector salaries.

On the state payroll, Keravnos had previously said this worries the government and efforts will be made to contain it.

“Expenditures come to €3.7 billion and we can’t continue along this trajectory,” he said.

The minister made it plain he will not grant any further pay rise requests made by civil servants’ unions – although he might make some exceptions for people on the lower pay scales (A2 to A7).