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Farmers lift roadblocks and custom officials announce strikes

05 February 2010 / 14:02:31  GRReporter
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Farmer roadblocks are slowly disappearing, but the government is now facing a wave of strikes by employees in both public and private sectors. Today on strike are customs officials and tax inspectors, and on February 10 on strike will be doctors, health workers, and employees in the public sector. 

It is expected that around noon most farmers roadblocks around the country will withdraw after a decision, taken at a meeting in Veria by the Panhellenic representatives coordinating body for agricultural organizations. So far only farmers in Thessaly and Promahonas exhibit piggery and their roadblocks are continuing. Today their decision on whether to remain on the road or not, is expected. Moreover, farmer representatives plan to protest in front of the International Fair in Thessaloniki, where the 23rd International Exhibition of agricultural machinery AGROTIKA is being held. 

Prosecutor's Office in Thessaloniki intervened against the farmers who surrounded the airport of the city and provoked disorder for many travelers. Currently tractors around Thessaloniki are concentrated around the Green traffic lights, around the intersection of Halkidona and near the Malgara toll stations, but traffic for cars is done without complications. 

Farmers roadblocks in Seres region are expected to lift the roadblocks in Kerdiliya and in Strimoniko but Promahonas border point still remains closed. The decision of whether to lift the blockades there will be taken later on. Thessaly and Kavala farmers keep their position to continue the roadblocks in Hrisoupoli, Nikea and Mikrotiva. And although traffic through border posts is done without problems by the farmers, today the custom officials announced a strike. 

Today, trade unionists from 14 out of 30 roadblocks will explain why they have decided to stop with the protests. According to sources, they will declare their disappointment towards the government's position, but will determine a period of six months, in which it should realize its proposals. 

On her part, Agriculture Minister Katerina Badzeli said that from now on, everything depends on the farmers themselves rather than the government, which has done everything possible and no one can accuse it in intransigence. 

And just as the farmer protests are ending, the government faces a new wave of strike action, both from public and private employees. Yesterday started the strikes of customs and tax officials and on February 10 the union of civil servants announced a nationwide strike, because the government announced measures to reduce wages and make changes in retirement ages. 

Later this month - on February 24, reins are assumed by GSEE trade union, which announced a 24-hour strike as a beginning, which may be stretched in time. GSEE President George Panagopoulos said: "I feel sad that the government I supported did not respond to the needs of farmers," said he regarding the signing of the new collective agreement, which reached an impasse. Mr. Panagopoulos was explicit that "whether employers want or not, private employees will receive salary increases." The union of civil servants is planning to join the strike on February 24.

Tags: Farmer protest in Greece Bulgaria Boiko Borisov Trade Roadblocks
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