The owners of kiosks announced a three day strike
A three-day strike announced today the owners of kiosks and pavilions who want to a law to be passed for the increase of the profit margin to 8.2%. Currently, they receive 3% from the sale of cigarettes and tobacco products, which is equivalent to 5 cents per pack and the accumulated until the end of the month amount is obviously not sufficient to cover even the expenses for electricity and telephone, said the chairman of the Federation of owners of kiosks Konstantinos Kogias.
In the morning in front of the Ministry of Economy gathered about 200 owners of kiosks, who expressed their protest against the low rate of profit. Cigarettes and tobacco products are 70% of the goods offered in kiosks, but after the tax increases nine months ago and the economic crisis, sales have dropped, consumers have started to buy tobacco, which is enough for them for more days and this critically reduces the income of the entrepreneurs.
Owners of kiosks from Iraklion, Karditsa, Larissa, Volos, Piraeus, Athens and Thessaloniki initiated a strike and closed down the kiosks, and also since today a termless hunger strike was started by the chairman of their Federation Mr. Kogias who is determined to stay until the demands of the federation are met and set up a tent in front of the Ministry. He said he would leave only if a law is passed establishing the rate of profit, or if taken with ambulance.
"We are not against government policy, nor we are against anybody else, but we are fighting for our right not to remain unemployed, not to become beggars for our work, not to die slowly. We will meet with Minister Kuselas and hopefully everything will end well," said the chairman of the federation of owners of kiosks.
"The situation in the city of Volos, where I come from, is tragic, because society is very closed. Sales are very limited and with this percentage of profit it does not make sense to work. We are currently working as unpaid tax auditors, as we can not even cover our overhead costs with the money earned from the kiosks. Already 1500 kiosks closed down and we believe that if you do not immediately adopt measures soon another 20 000 people will lose their jobs and will knock on the door of ministry to pay us social allowances for the unemployed. We want to believe that a solution will be found. We see that there is a desire on the part of the ministry," said Mr. Kogias.
"We started protests nine months ago when the new taxes were announced. Then all the kiosks on the island of Crete stripped from their shelves the cigarettes of Filip Morris, which is the number one company in sales. So we got to today, we are on the final leg, as the the members of Parliament are discussing the issue of cigarettes and they all should make law for the profit margin which should be 8.2 percent. We have also submitted a document from the European Union, with the Deputy Minister of Economy, which requires Greece to set this rate," said Eleni Hereti, chairman of the Cretan Association of kiosk owners.
"There is one case in Italy, which has already been viewed by the European Court and was won. All EU countries sell tobacco products with 8%, and we are the only ones to sell them at 3% and even less. Nine months ago the tobacco companies came up with a nickname for me "microbe", but now a virus has spread around. In Crete, the situation is even more tragic, as it is in the countryside in Greece – we sell a pack of cigarettes at a profit of 5 cents and the cost of production is 4 cents, which is proven by documents. On Tuesday we have a meeting with Minister Kuselas to take a decision and to propose a law," added Ms. Hereti for grreporter.info.
According to the Greek press, Deputy Economy Minister Dimitris Kuselas along with his team is preparing a plan to reassess the taxes on cigarettes, but they have not committed in writing yet. Today, lawmakers debated in plenary on the subject for taxes and tobacco products.Read phonetically