Agricultural workers from Seres are once again getting ready for strikes. In the beginning of this week seven colleagues of theirs decided to break the police barricades and managed to reach with their tractors to the frontier post of Greece with Bulgaria, Promahonas-Kulata. Regardless of their instant "heroism", a little later they were detained by the authorities and on Friday they faced the court for hearing their version of the story.
Initial requests of the farmers this year were related to the granting of excise duty-free diesel for agricultural activity as well as to receive outstanding claims for damages caused by natural disasters in previous years. After the arrest of the farmers, however, agricultural unions got seriously determined to a firm protest and according to the latest information they inted to call a Panhellenic strike.
A little more humble proved to be the doctors in Greece who after about 10 days active strike actions closed offices and non prescribed recipes said they were ready to find another way to achieve their claims. Medics in the country fought tooth and nail until the last moment for the new bill to reform the healthcare system not to be voted on. The government ignored their request and passed it on Tuesday the ninth February this year. Still, the healthcare Minister Andreas Loverdos left the door slightly open and invited doctors unions to a dialogue.
Doctors in Greece said clearly they will not step back from their claims which have not yet been announced publicly, but agreed to see the Minister. They will also take part in the Panhellenic strike of February 23, 2011 under the title "Say No! to the anty workers’ policies", organized by the two largest unions in Greece, the Union of employees in the private sector and the Trade Union of Civil Servants.
Employees of the public transport, however, are the truly tireless ones in this case who after three months of protests continue to strike. On February 15th, 2011 drivers of buses and trolleys will not appear at their jobs for 24 hours. The strike is in protest against the bill for rehabilitation of the public transport companies, which must be passed at the last vote in parliament on the same day.
A day later on February 16 the same drivers will carry our a five-hour working strike. In the five free hours is expected to be held a general meeting during which they will decide how to continue their protest actions. For the employees who work in the other companies for public transport there is still no official information whether they will go on strike, but rumors "whisper" that the subway, tram and urban train in Athens will run according to the schedule. We hope so.