Greece must tackle job cut taboo to escape crisis: IMF

LONDON Wed Mar 28, 2012 2:40pm EDT

Natassa Papakonstantinou, 43, telephones a recruitment agency from her apartment in Kifisia, a suburb of Athens, March 14, 2012.Natassa lost her telecom services job of 12 years in August 2011 and was not paid for the last six months. REUTERS/Cathal McNaughton

Natassa Papakonstantinou, 43, telephones a recruitment agency from her apartment in Kifisia, a suburb of Athens, March 14, 2012.Natassa lost her telecom services job of 12 years in August 2011 and was not paid for the last six months.

Credit: Reuters/Cathal McNaughton

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LONDON (Reuters) - Greece must tackle its aversion to mandatory redundancies and the closure of public entities if it is to fully escape its debt crisis, the country's International Monetary Fund mission chief said in London on Wednesday.

"Greece must deal with its own taboos," said Poul Thomsen, IMF mission chief to Greece, speaking at a panel debate.

"So far there has been a taboo to let staff go in a mandatory manner from what is a highly overstaffed public sector. There has also been a taboo to close entities that are no longer needed."

Thomsen added that there was no more scope for tax rises, or across the board cuts in wages and pensions.

(Reporting by William James and Nia Williams)

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