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Motorcycle protest against the fiscal adjustment

03 October 2012 / 15:10:51  GRReporter
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Victoria Mindova

City council and municipal workers protested again in the region of Attica but this time, they were riding motorcycles around the city centre and the separate municipalities. Central roads were closed at 12 pm in order for the motorized procession of strikers to move along them. They resent the new cuts in the public sector, which are aimed at saving the budget 11.6 billion euro over the next two years.

The procession started from the union headquarters near Metaxourgeio and went through Omonia Square. Moving along Stadiou Street, it reached the Ministry of Employment and Social Security, where the protesters stopped to chant slogans against the government and the policy pursued. They then blocked Amalias Avenue in front of the parliament in Syntagma Square and the procession ended in front of PASOK’s offices.

"This is our way to show in an organized manner our reaction against the new measures coming with the fiscal adjustment. They will take us all – society, working people and pensioners to absolute poverty and weakness," the chairman of the union of employees of local self-government organizations (ПОЕ-ОТА) Themis Balasopoulos told GRReporter. He stressed that municipalities are facing a complete financial collapse due to the coming cuts.

City council and municipal workers are among the most irreconcilable opponents of the current reforms. "We are ready to resist with active strikes all those who support the new antisocial measures and want to bring us to our knees," the unionist said. Municipal workers are threatening that if the fiscal adjustment measures are adopted a mass black out of the administration of local self-government organizations will follow. There will be occupations of the offices of political parties that support the tripartite coalition government and blockades of municipal services and city dumps. Balasopoulos said that the salaries of workers in the sector have fallen by 40% since the beginning of the crisis. "We will not allow this to continue."

The campaign of municipal workers involves public transport workers in the capital too.  Athens trolleys have announced a six-hour warning strike from 10 am to 4 pm on Wednesday. The workers' trade union called a general meeting to decide how to continue the strike actions in the coming weeks.

Dockers and workers in port administrations are also raising their heads. They have warned that the moment the new budget cuts are adopted they will go on 48-hour consecutive strikes. All commercial ships and ferries will not sail for an indefinite period of time. Tax employees in Greece are expected to follow the same strike procedure as well. Salary cuts and merger of public institutions directly affect them and they are adamant that they will not give up without a fight.

The general council of tax employees has announced that next week will be the first of a series of 48-hour strikes, when regional tax offices will remain closed. The last strike in September was a serious problem for taxpayers as they were unable to pay on time the instalments of the due income and property taxes. Meanwhile, blockades of the offices of public hospitals’ heads by health workers has begun across the country. More than 30 schools in Thessaloniki did not open on Wednesday. High school students protesting against the cuts in education funding occupied them.

On Wednesday, the employees of Emporiki Bank announced the first of a series of strikes against the sale of the financial institution to Alpha Bank. They demand that the management of the successor bank ensures that it will keep their jobs, wage levels and insist on the signing of a collective employment agreement.


Tags: SocietyStrikesMunicipalitiesCity HallsGreeceCrisis
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