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Social tension is growing, the talks with the Troika are up in the air

05 December 2013 / 19:12:55  GRReporter
1871 reads

Anastasia Balezdrova

Once again the Ministry of Education in Athens had found itself at the centre of the protests against the government policy. The students of music schools in the region of Athens held their own protest during which they presented short sketches, played drums and whistles, and shouted slogans.

The students told GRReporter that they were protesting because no teachers in various musical disciplines had been appointed four months after the beginning of the school year. In addition, according to them, the contract with the company transporting them to school expires today.

The protest also involved members of the federation of secondary school teachers. According to the union, there are problems in all schools and the total number of unoccupied teacher’s positions across the country is 1,127.

At the same time, the employees of the Ministry of Culture held a 48-hour strike in protest against the upcoming layoffs. The strikers had gathered in front of the building of the Ministry at 07:00 am today, and they intend to hold a rally at the same time on Friday.
The doctors from the national healthcare system have decided to continue until 13 December the strike that had started early last week, despite the warning of Minister Adonis Georgiadis that there is no chance of them being excluded from the list of cuts in the public sector. Georgiadis urged their union representatives to suspend the strike and return to the negotiating table but it seems that they firmly uphold their position.

The administrative staff at Athens University has decided to continue the resistance against the expected cuts as well. They will hold two 24-hour strikes on Friday and Monday. The employees urged the Minister to negotiate with them on the opening of the university "under conditions which are absolutely necessary for this" as indicated by them.

Meanwhile, Minister of Education Konstantinos Arvanitopoulous met with Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and received support for all actions taken in order to stop the crisis in the universities.

One of the scenarios that the Prime Minister discussed with Arvanitopoulous was the civil mobilization of administrative staff which was firmly rejected according to sources from the Ministry of Education.

It is expected that the social unrest will escalate on Saturday when the Greek parliament will vote on the state budget for next year. The two big trade unions in Greece, namely of public sectors workers (ADEDY) and of private sector workers (GSEE) will hold a protest rally in Syntagma Square at 6:00 pm. The unionists argue that the 2014 budget "will bring a rise in unemployment, impoverishment of the Greek people, the collapse of social cohesion and an unprecedented humanitarian crisis."

It is not yet clear, against this background, when the negotiations with the supervisory Troika for the payment of the next tranche of financial aid to Greece will continue. According to sources in Brussels, it is possible that at least one chapter of those related to the progress of the rescue programme could be closed by the beginning of 2014 when Greece will take over the rotating presidency of the European Union. According to them, it could be the chapter of the unfulfilled commitments for cuts or the gap in the budget, and the liberalization of the auctions of mortgaged houses.

Tags: PoliticsSocietyProtestsSocial tensionCutsBudgetTrade unions
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