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The Troika comes and protests in Athens revive

16 January 2012 / 23:01:00  GRReporter
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The technical team of the supervisory Troika of the International Monetary Fund, the European Central Bank and the European Commission will return to Athens this week. Its representatives will check how Greece has advanced with the reforms in the public sector and the restructuring of the local economy. They will visit all the key ministries, the Chamber of Accounts, the National Statistical Service, the Bank of Greece and the Public Property Management Organization to check if they are performing the tasks set in the mid-term recovery programme and the budget.

On Friday, 20 January 2012, the heads of the mission Poul Thomsen, Matthias Morse and Klaus Mazouch will arrive in Athens. They expect rapid measures to be taken to reduce the salaries and the number of civil servants by 150 thousand people. They insist on cancelling the benefits of employees in public enterprises subject to privatization and on reducing the salaries of bank employees working in publicly-owned financial institutions.

The Troika expects the cost of salaries in the private sector to be cut to improve the competitiveness of Greek production. The supervisors #officially required this in December 2011 for the first time. The latest report of the International Monetary Fund on the development of the Greek economy points out that the level of private sector salaries has risen faster than the pace of economic growth, which hinders entrepreneurship in the country. In consequence, Lucas Papademos' government has required the branch organizations and their unions to find a solution that would limit the amount of salaries in the private sector and would even reduce the value of the minimum salary. If they are not able to reach a mutual agreement, the government will require the reduction of salaries in the private sector by adopting a special law.

Unfortunately, salaries and financial cuts in the past two years have not brought positive results in Greece. The deficit has remained dangerously high at 10% of GDP, some of the Greeks have lost their jobs, others have said goodbye to their familiar standard of living and Prime Minister Lucas Papademos has promised them that the next two years will be even more difficult.

The prospects of new salary cuts of salaries and more austerity have driven trade unions to announce a new strike, which this time applies only to the capital. Organized by the union of employees in the private sector, it will involve employees in the media, lawyers, bankers, workers in the steel plant Aspropyrgo, medical workers and doctors, employees of Alapis and subsidiaries of Laurentios Laurentiadiss and many others dissatisfied with the deteriorating condition of the Greek economy. Employees in the Greek media have also announced a 48-hour strike and the members of the union of navy employees have announced a 24-hour strike. Workers in public transport in the capital will support the protest but will be working from 7.30 am to 9 pm. Railways will not be running either.

Protesters insist on keeping the collective agreements and demand that the government should protect workers from mass layoffs. They also insist on suspending the financial cuts and on cancelling the extra taxes that went into effect in the second half of 2011. Discontented Greeks have two assembly points on 17 January at 11 am. The first one is Klafthmonos Square and the other one is Omonia Square. Both rallies will merge into a protest march in front of the Parliament on Syntagma Square.

There may be a change in the schedules of ship arrivals and departures at the port of Piraeus due to the strike of employees in shipping. For more information call +30 210-4226000 or +30 210-4147800.

Tags: EconomyMarketsSocietyStrikesProtestsTroikaSupervisorsCreditorsSalaries
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