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Municipal employees intensify their resistance to cuts

22 November 2012 / 19:11:59  GRReporter
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Anastasia Balezdrova 

Greek municipal workers continued today their fight against the government's decision to include in the "available" regime those of them, who have been appointed without the approval of the Supreme Council for the selection of personnel.

They gathered outside the office of their trade union organization POE-OTA and the protest march set off to the Ministry of Administrative Reform. Once again, the trade union leadership did not fail to organize street comic farces. Today's show presented a funeral procession with a real coffin, men in black suits and three funeral wreaths with the names of the leaders of the ruling coalition: Antonis Samaras, Evangelos Venizelos and Fotis Kouvelis. Conceptually, the three political leaders had sent these wreaths to the funeral of the public sector.

The orchestra of the Municipality of Piraeus was playing funeral music, while the participants were carrying black balloons.

According to the order of the Minister of Administrative Reform Antonis Manitakis, the "available" employees can move to other municipalities or any public service, where there is a lack of staff. The duration of this period is one year and the jobs the specific employees held previously will be closed.

The resistance of the municipal workers’ trade union against the measure is fierce because it believes it will lead to layoffs. President Themis Balasopoulos said that municipal officials do not intend to give up and explained that the law could not be applied if regulations for cancelling the jobs are not issued.

Meanwhile, municipal workers had blocked the offices, which are expected to draw up the lists of the names of "candidates" who will be included in the "available" regime. They threatened that they would not allow "the name of any of our colleagues to be sent." It is worth noting that a large number of mayors are on the side of the employees and support them by not sending the lists of names to the Ministry.

On Wednesday, the Minister issued a new order, which urges the municipal authorities to send the data immediately. It states, "The failure of administrative services to respond cannot affect the execution of the law enforced after its publication in the Official Gazette." According to the text, if it happens, the regime will be introduced "blindly" to all employees with secondary education, no matter whether they have been appointed with the approval of the Supreme Council for the selection of staff or not.

"I think that the Minister’s order of yesterday shows two things: that he is desperate and that he is blackmailing the employees. Our answer is: If he has the data from 250 municipalities, as he claims unofficially, let him obey the law. Our position remains the same. Without issuing a declaratory act, they cannot apply the "available" regime to any employee nor can they stop his salary." Themis Balasopoulos said that under these conditions, there was not much that the Minister could do and urged him to meet with employees’ representatives.

The trade unionists propose to "freeze" the process introducing the measure and to make a list of the needs of municipalities. "Then, we'll see what we’ll do," said the trade union leader.

About 200 employees in various ministries joined the strike of municipal workers after their union, ADEDY, announced a three-hour work stoppage. "When they dismiss someone working in the neighbouring building, the only thing we can expect is that it could happen to any of us the next day. We are taking part in the protest to oppose these unconstitutional measures," a representative of the trade union of employees in the Ministry of Infrastructure told GRReporter.

Both processions united at Klafthmonos Square and continued to the Ministry of Administrative Reform, where at least five police buses and members of riot forces had blocked its entrance. The protest ended peacefully.

Tags: SocietyMunicipal workersProtestCutsTrade unionsPublic sector
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