The Public Power Corporation (PPC) union, GENOP-DEI, condemned a decision announced by the Environment and Energy Ministry that it would reduce the discount the utility employees get on their home electricity bills.
It called the move surprising, and said that PPC staff have seen reductions in wages since 2010 that collectively total 6 billion euros.
The ministry said that if the measures are not introduced, the utility will be unable to meet its obligations, including wages. For staff in particular, the discounts reach 75 percent, on average, on their home bills it said. Specifically, it explained, it was going to abolish discounts in the non-competitive part of the bills - or fees related to public television, municipal taxes, and utilities (YKO), the latter of which covers discounts to low-income families and other exceptional cases. The discount related to electricity will also drop to 30 pct, the same rate applied to competitors' staff members.
"The decision to reduce the privilege of a discount to workers and pensioners is a difficult one and aims to save PPC," the government said. "We believe that PPC staff understand better than anyone else the dire situation the company is in and want to contribute to overcoming the crisis. Besides, everyone is being asked to assist in this effort - both consumers and sustainable energy resource producers and the company's competitors," it added."
Besides going after strategic non-payers, the ministry said, it was also working on a plan to provide benefits to conscientious consumers who paid on time. These "will be announced soon and will be based on practices of electricity and telecommunications companies throughout Europe," it said, and will go into effect as of 2020.