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news 30 Apr 14

Serbian Public Sector Faces Longer Working Day

On assuming office as Prime Minister, Aleksandar Vucic warned public offiicials and MPs that they will have to work longer hours to get the economy back on track.

BIRN Belgrade

Public sector workers in Serbia will have to start work at 7.30 or 8am instead of 8.30 or 9am from May 1, Prime Minister Vucic announced on Tuesday on taking over office from Ivica Dacic, who will be Foreign Minister in the new cabinet.

Vucic said there would be "no holidays and no Saturdays or Sundays" for the new government, further announcing that a new decree on the use of official vehicles will be discussed on May 1, which is a non-working state holiday in Serbia.

"After that decision, I expect the first protests of administration employees," he added.

He also said he would not move to a different office, and would continue to live in his existing apartment in New Belgrade.

Salaries in the public sector are to be cut by 10 per cent, he added.

According to Vucic, the moves form part of a drive to speed up reforms and improve living standards by 2016.

Vucic was elected Prime Minister in parliament on Sunday with 198 votes in favour and 23 against, after his Progressive Party triumphed in the March 16 general election in Serbia.

In a three-hour long expose of the new government’s course and programme on Sunday, Vucic said the most important task for the government would be economic reform, including the passage of reform laws, the privatization of 153 state enterprises, private-sector development and budget consolidation through spending cuts.

In order to pass the set of reforms laws, he told parliamentarians that they will also have to work extra hours.

“You will be eating, sleeping and washing your face in this parliamentary building, as the package of reform laws has to be adopted by July 15,” Vucic said on Sunday.

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