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Mass strikes by the end of September

20 September 2011 / 18:09:58  GRReporter
3534 reads

Anastasia Balezdrova


While the Greek government is preparing for the continuation of the thriller of the negotiations with the supervisory Troika and the international press is filled with articles, according to which the chance Greece to default is 99.9 per cent, trade unionists and employees of Greek municipalities and the public sector held a protest. About 200 participants gathered at the Klavtmonos Square where traditionally were the civil servants, dismissed before clarifying the permanent working regime for them. They protested against the austerity measures of the government and the introduction of the labour reserve in the public sector.

The procession set off along Stadious Street and came to the Ministry of Finance. There, the police had blocked the street to the entrance of the Ministry with police buses, but the protesters’ goal was different.  After an impassioned speech by one of the unionists against the government and the strict financial measures, which "will lead to mass dismissals," some of the protesters set fire to the notifications for the extra income and so-called "solidarity supplement" sent by the tax authorities and said, "we will not pay for the crisis."

After chanting slogans outside the parliament building, the protesters walked along Panepistimiou Street and came to the Audit Court, where not many police officers expected them. Some unionists tried to enter pretending to be ordinary citizens, but did not succeed. Minutes later, the police allowed a delegation of trade unionists to enter, who said that the Audit Court employees have occupied the building symbolically in solidarity with the protesting civil and municipal servants.

An hour earlier, about 200 pupils and students - members of the youth organization of the Communist Party - protested against the government policy on education. They crossed the central streets and threw the CDs distributed in schools instead of textbooks in front of the parliament.

The season of protests and strikes in Greece has just begun. The week that started yesterday is decisive for whether the first semester of the academic year will be irretrievably lost for the students. Approximately 240 departments of Greek universities are under "occupation" by students and other persons, who protest again the already voted law on higher education. As a result, the supplementary examinations in September are almost lost. The protesting students will hold meetings to decide whether to continue the occupation. There is almost no chance they to listen to colleagues and teachers, who are against the closed universities.

According to commentators, the protesting students have the support and the silent consent of teachers and even university administrations for their actions. Wednesday is the deadline for the rectors to sign the first document that will propel the new law by the announcement of elections for new boards. The fact that university heads keep silent these days should not be regarded as a change in their position, say commentators. Only 3 or 4 of 22 Greek universities are expected to sign the document, but some speculation claim that most likely they will not sign it and they all together will turn against the policy of the Ministry of Education. Rectors believe that the new law violates the constitution and intend to ask the opinion of the Supreme Administrative Court, which will prevent its implementation in the coming months at least.

The employees in the Athens urban transport will go on strike against the labour reserve. The workers in all means of transport will hold a 24-hour strike on Thursday. According to trade unions, it will be only the beginning of their response. They will decide at a general meeting the same day whether they will hold consecutive strikes and in what days.

The union of civil servants ADEDY decided to hold a 24-hour strike on October 6. However, the date could be changed depending on tomorrow's joint meeting with the union of private sector employees. Civil servants are called to hold occupations of ministries and state institutions, to go to rallies and protests. Tomorrow, they will hold a protest at Klavtmonos Square. On Thursday, they will stay at work only to 12:30 at noon due to the announced strike and protest rally.

On Sunday, flights will be irregular because of the strike by air traffic controllers, who will not work on September 28 from 12:00 to 16:00h. Along with the workers protests, the movement of discontented is trying to get organized again. The "assembly" on Syntagma Square calls the followers to protest on Sunday at 19:00h.

Tags: SocietyProtestsCivil servantsLabour reserveDismissalsStrikesUniversities
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