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Protest of public transport employees outside the Parliament

13 January 2011 / 16:01:58  GRReporter
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Employees of all transport companies in Athens are on strike today. Other companies’ employees are allowed to leave work an hour earlier before the end of the workday to be able to find a taxi and get home without being caught in the classic afternoon traffic jam.  Syntagma Square remained closed at noon due to public transport staff  protest outside the Parliament.

There will be transport running tomorrow, said the leader of the union of transport employees Nikos Kouloumbaritsis, but added that today's 24-hour strike will not be the last as protests will continue next week. "On first reading, the bill is against the rights of workers," he said.

"The bill which was presented yesterday to the Council of Ministers harms public transport workers’ rights and we hope that the invitation for dialogue which Minister Dimitris Repas made today is frank. The employees will show their intentions in the next hours with a sense of responsibility to the public and the passengers. Collective agreements can not be repealed because they are applicable under the law. What will happen is to file in court a claim against the new collective agreement and we have already done this," said the president of the union of technicians in public transport Apostolos Raftopoulos.

"We will oppose anything that affects our rights and returns us decades back," said Apostolos Hasimeris - a board member of the union of workers in public transport.

"You saw still in the morning what is our response to the law – we were on strike still in the morning, a 24-hour strike, and we have to protest. We were invited to participate in dialogue. We want to enter into dialogue and will not allow such an opportunity to be missed. We will take part in the dialogue. Thereafter, we will see what they want from us. On first reading, it seems that this law is against the rights of workers that will not contribute to the development of the company," said the president of the union of workers in public transport Nikos Kouloumbaritsis.

Public transport employees gathered to demonstrate on Omonia Square and came to Syntagma Square, chanting: "We will not stop! This law will remain on paper!" When the demonstrators got to the Ministry of Finance a large group stopped to chant "Shame on you!" and "Leave the talk and catch the thieves!" The leaders of the union decided, while on Syntagma Square, the demonstration to go to the offices of the main trade union of workers GSEE located across the city centre. Some of the employees that had come to demonstrate opposed this decision and said they would remain outside the Parliament and so it happened.

Tags: NewsSocietyStrikePublic transportParliamentCollective labour agreementsState companies
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