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Strikes of the transport seized – the patience of the citizens is running out

15 January 2011 / 11:01:45  GRReporter
3665 reads

Marina Nikolova

 

The steam from the pressure is let out between the unions of employees of public transport and the government, after the Minister of Transport Dimitris Repas invited them to the table of negotiations. "Our goal is for citizens to be better served, and therefore we want an improvement in the means for public transport. We support the public nature of the public transport organizations and we keep the right to work of all employees. Our goal is common, as is common the responsibility" the minister said.

Although the 24-hour strike yesterday was declared illegal, this fact was not emphasized and it wasn’t given great importance instead the government put the emphasis on the dialogue in order not to result in more collisions but to ensure the normal traffic of the means for mass transport in the coming days.

In turn, officials in the various means of transportation have different views on whether they will confirm that they want to participate in a dialogue, although in previous days they had said that "if invited to a dialogue they will cease to strike while the dialogue finishes". Employees of bus routes were willing to participate in the dialogue and said they seize their strike actions. So did also officials of the subway, trams and trolleys, who announced that there will be no strikes next week as previously scheduled.

Unionists from the electric trains refused so far to participate in the dialogue, because they say that they were not invited by the Ministry but by the Management Board of their enterprise. According to them, since the administration has no say in changing the bill, entering into a dialogue will only be formal and therefore they have decided not to appear. In turn, the Ministry of Transport said they have already authorized the administrations of various organizations to enter into negotiations with trade unions of employees. On the part of the government sources confirmed that the dialogue with employees will continue while the bill is introduced in the parliament to be voted which will most likely be next month.

The ministry confirmed that in the next ten days the bill will be submitted for public discussion, during which the Minister Dimitris Repas, the Secretary General of the Ministry of Transport Charis Tsiokas and the administrations of the enterprises will be in constant contact.

According to the newspaper Vima the Ministry programmes to give assurances to the employees, according to which their basic salaries will not change, exceptional benefits will not exceed 10% of the salary as it is under the law on state enterprises and the 1500 transfers of employees will not affect the operation of vehicles, as basically will mostly be relocated employees in administration and support staff.

To the invitation of Minister Repas positively responded quite a few trade union bodies of state enterprises officials, which "froze" their program of strikes as a sign of goodwill. Today's meeting of the coordinating body of trade unions is crucial, during which the final decisions will be made about what strategy to follow during the dialogue.

 

Michaela Topsidi, 28,

I myself go to work on foot, I live nearby, so we can say that I am not affected so much by the strikes of the public transport. I believe that even employees in such enterprises as public transport, on which directly depends serving people, have the right to strike. I also think that the media are largely to be blamed for the different social groups to turn against each other, as happened during the strike of the truck owners. But nevertheless I think there is no result from what they are doing. Perhaps it would be more effective if they make their protest by allowing passengers ride without tickets and thus they will attract also the public opinion on their side.

 

Lucas Tsoukis, 36,

I am against strikes, because now the concept of "strike" has lost its meaning. All the people have found a way to travel in the days of the strikes and the only ones who suffer from them are the poor - pensioners and immigrants who have no money to travel otherwise. I personally live in the center and I travel either cycling or walking. Nobody is interested any more in whether or not the strike is going on and they have not achieved anything with this.

 

Michael Costas, 30

Ongoing strikes cause a nervous breakdown to five million people for more than a month now. Let’s say that unionists are entitled to many of their demands. But while struggling to ensure the existence of this "public good" they do not at all think that almost daily for more than a month they are destroying it. Both the government and them "in the name of the citizens" and pompous speeches, just negate what they are supposed to protect. Let the officials protest let us admit that it is necessary to make reforms, and let us oppose against the increase of the price of tickets from  February1st. But not by stopping the transport every other day, because for us the day resembles hell. They should not speculate in this way and I don’t know what their profit is in the collective consciousness.

 

Theodora Kouki, 42,

Of course I am against. So far I have paid 150 euros for a taxi – I pay eight euros in the morning and eight euros in the afternoon to go and come back from work. I do not know at all why the strike, but they must take measures to prevent this chaos from continuing.

 

Cassiani Ksantoulaki, 33,

Tags: news society transport transport vehicles strike protest dialogue
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