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Greece moves towards a full administrative black out

05 September 2012 / 20:09:51  GRReporter
2905 reads

Victoria Mindova

Greek courts closed after 11 o'clock in the morning on Wednesday to make the first sign of dissent to upcoming wage cuts. The government programme to rescue the budget includes a reduction of all salaries in the public sector and no exceptions are expected this time. Judges, prosecutors and administrative workers gathered in the lobby of the Supreme Court in Athens at noon to coordinate their future strike actions against the government's fiscal consolidation measures.

"If the new measures are introduced, the salary of newly appointed legal employees will be 1,000 euro, whereas their counterparts with a higher rank will receive about 1,500 euro. How could this be considered a high income? We have borne reduction in wages of almost 50% since the beginning of crisis," George Faltsetos from the union of administrative judges told GRReporter indignantly. He said that if the government does not listen to the voice of judicial workers there would certainly be more active strike actions. The nature of strike actions itself would depend on the decision of individual professional groups in the judiciary, the unionist said. "We have announced a strike on 17 September, when the court year begins. Other protests are being discussed currently and will be announced soon."

Prosecutors’ union in Greece does not seem giving in without a fight and it announced for a start that prosecutors would take cases only within their established working hours (by 3 pm on weekdays). Prosecutors refuse to take cases that require working outside the office like attending football matches and public meetings in the hours after their statutory working hours. Prosecutors insist that if the government began reducing their wages, which is contrary to the current legislation, they would appeal the decision to the competent Greek, but European courts too.

"I think the public awareness has already matured and the public is aware that the demands of judges and judicial workers are grounded and correct. We stand at the forefront of the struggle of all social groups in society," the president of the Union of Judges and Prosecutors said during the meeting of judicial workers. She added that the final decision to intensify the protest would be made after the outcome of the meeting between the trade union body and Finance Minister Yiannis Stournaras on Thursday this week becomes clear.

Radical left SYRIZA supported the strike of judicial workers and said that by reducing the salaries of judges and prosecutors the government destroys justice, which is one of the pillars of democracy.

Protests of doctors, policemen, firemen and coast guards in the country continue along with that of judicial workers. The people employed in the public health sector refused to accept wage cuts too. Their colleagues in private practice who have contracts with the National Organization for Health Care Provision for the prescription of free medicines and who make examinations covered by health insurance funds require from the state to pay the amounts due for services rendered. Uniformed in Greece in turn are keen to thwart the adoption of upcoming measures for cuts in their financial sector. Tax officials, university professors and public administration employees in general support these actions too.

The union of police officers in Attica put two dramatic black sheets at the main entrance of General Directorate "Police" - Attica in protest to the coming wage cuts by 17% on the average. One of them read "No to the return to dark days" and the words on the other one were "Your promises vanished." Both messages address the parties of the tripartite coalition in Greece, the election promises of which are diametrically opposed to their today's actions, according to the uniformed. Policemen, firemen and coast guards will hold a national meeting at the central Panathinaikos Stadium on Thursday at noon to discuss the problems of the sector and decide on future strike actions.

Meanwhile, unionists from the trade unions of workers in the underground, urban electric train and tram stated that they would announce a general strike supported by both the union of employees in the private sector (GSEE) and that of the union of public sector workers (ADEDY). The reason is the increase in the price of public transport tickets by 25% this autumn. The date of the general strike has not yet been announced.

Tags: SocietyPoliticsStrikesJudgesProsecutorsPolicemenGreeceChaos
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