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Municipal offices will close for three days

13 July 2013 / 17:07:16  GRReporter
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Mayors of the country have decided to close municipalities for three days from Monday to Wednesday, reacting in this way to the bill that will surely lead thousands of municipal employees to unemployment because of the ''availability mode''.

This was announced by Chairman of the Central Union of Municipalities of Greece Kostas Askounis at the extraordinary meeting of mayors, held at the Hotel Caravel. Askounis requested that the strike should exclude services that affect social activities on Monday and Wednesday, and with regard to the transportation of waste in tourist areas, it will be decided whether to stop the strike or not on the spot. However, mayors decided that social services as well as refuse disposal services will not to stop working.

The atmosphere during the meeting was particularly tense and many mayors have already mentioned proposals for resignations. The mayor of Igoumenitsa and almost the entire city council did so on Thursday. This has already been suggested by the Regional Union of Municipalities of Central Macedonia, too.

President of the Pan-Hellenic organisation of workers Themis Balasopoulos urged that all councils should exert pressure during the weekend on MPs who visit their areas and warn them that if they vote for this bill, they will become unwelcome in their constituencies. Baslasopoulos added that that the local government was already included in 2012 in the “availability mode” with 50% of its employees placed under this mode and now 60% of new “availability mode” employees will be municipal officials who represent only 10% of all civil servants.

Employees - in despair

The road in front of the Caravel Hotel has been closed by hundreds of municipal officials. Most of them include municipal police officers and school security guards who will work under the "availability mode". Many of them are wearing their official uniforms. Group of school security guards from Galatsi discussed their unfair treatment.

"We worked as trainees for 5 years - from 2001 to 2006 without insurance. When we were appointed for an indefinite period and our salaries could be indexed, evening shifts stopped because of financial costs and schools remained without guards," said Dzeni. One can hear various things about the government and mayors who are trying to offer a compromise, such as searching for programmes or creating social cooperatives, so that employees can continue their work. "In my opinion the municipalities are also responsible to some extent. They avoided accreditations for so long because they did not want to bother anyone or in order to protect their own people. The result is that entire services are currently paying for this, such as school guards and the municipal police," said Philip, a school security guard and father of three children, whose wife is disabled.

More than 600 employees, not only from Attica, have gathered inside and outside the hotel. "5 months ago, I moved from Athens to Argos," said Nikos Dovolos, who is a municipal police officer. "In the countryside, our work and responsibilities are greater. Very often, we work for more than 8 hours a day, there is no other way. Therefore, citizens and businessmen of the city support us. I do not mind being reassigned to the Greek police. I don’t want to lose my job, but so far there has been no evidence of such an option. Ever since Friday morning we haven’t heard anything," he added. He is not sure what his reappointment to the state police will mean, a desk or soft police job. "For example, in Argos, currently one or two police officers are patrolling, almost everybody has been transferred to Corinth and the centre for immigrants there. In order not to become unemployed, however, I will do everything I am ordered at the state police."

A head-on collision

The redundancy programme and transfers to the public sector are developing into a head-on collision between the government, on the one hand, and municipalities and unions on the other hand. On Thursday, Athens Mayor George Kaminis accused the government of neglecting the problem, and, at a meeting of the city council, it was decided that offices in Athens will close for the days when parliament will be discussing the bill. In Thessaloniki, the City Council is meeting today, and municipal employees will gather in front of the City Hall.

On Monday, the Pan-Hellenic organisation of workers called employees to gather in Syntagma Square on the eve of the bill’s discussion. The event will be accompanied by a concert. On Wednesday, employees will participate in the 24-hour strike announced by the two largest unions.

Teachers will also go on strike

The management committee of the Organisation of workers in secondary education has decided to act in order to enable teachers to show their opposition to mandatory transfers, the ''availability mode'' and lay-offs. On Friday afternoon, a mass protest was organised outside the offices of the Regional Education Directorate of Attica. On Monday, at 11 a.m., there will be a press conference, and radio spots will also be created for new measures, so that parents can be informed about changes and reports with teachers’ demands will be presented in the media.

Teachers will participate in the event in Syntagma Square on Monday, together with other employees. A new meeting will be held on Tuesday, 16 July, in Kavmonos Square, together with other employees.

Tags: municipal officials municipal police school security guards lay-offs at call mode strike
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