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Wave of strikes will cover Greece this spring

14 April 2010 / 08:04:40  GRReporter
2334 reads

Victoria Mindova

Syndicates in Greece prepare a wave of strikes, as a response to the economic policy led by the socialist government of PASOK. The Union of Greek state workers announced that on April 22 they will hold a 24-hour work strike, which will involve all state employees in the country. The strike will begin at 11:00AM from Klatmonos square in the capital. Strikes are also scheduled for April 27 and after May 1. "The propaganda in recent months about the need for restrictive economic measures cannot mask their failure," said at a press conference the chairman of the union of state workers Spiros Papaspiros and added: "Our actions and efforts serve as a barrier to restore public-political balance in the state." 

The trade unions of the Greek Communist party PAME will express their disagreement with government policies through a 48-hour labor strike on April 21 and 22. The General Confederation of Greek Workers (GSEE), which protects the interests of employees in the private sector is also expected to announce a strike by the end of the month. Fans of the extreme leftist organizations in the country accused the representatives of GSEE for serving the political interests of the government and not the social public rights of workers. 

Increased excise taxes, high VAT, cuts in wages and increasing the retirement age limit and other additional measures to cut spending, are the cause for the upcoming protest actions. The Union of Greek state workers supports the view that the use of Greece of the rescue mechanism of the European Union and the International Monetary Fund will lead to the adoption of more stringent antisocial measures, which will mainly affect ordinary citizens. The main concern of trade unions is that the government works only in the direction of reducing budgetary costs without a substantial plan for reconstruction and development productivity. 

The President of the Union of state sorkers Spiros Papaspiros sharply attacked the government, by declaring the undertaken policies until now for ineffective and antisocial. As an example he gave the nearly 19 thousand retirees who for more than half a year have been expecting their one time pension bonuses. Papaspiros presented to reporters excerpts from Budget 2010, as an example of the unfair and selective reduction of public spending. According to state code 840-845 the government annual budget provides €49 million for "board committees”. Trade unions offer these funds to be reduced to €24 million and thus the public sector would save €25 million for other purposes. One of the main reasons for unions to focus on the cost of boards of directors, is that in recent years these costs in the public sector are unreasonable and do not bring concrete results. In other words, the view of unions is that there are alternative ways of making further cuts in the budget without leading to reduction in salaries and allowances of public employees. Again according to the report of the Union of state workers the same applies to excessive budgets for PR, which can be reduced from €26 million €12 million, and "Operating expenses" can be reduced from €165 million to €80 million. From the last two sections the country can save almost €100 million and invest them in other more productive sectors of the economy. Examples given were alternative sources of saving, instead of wage cuts for public sector employees.

Tags: Greece economy strikes IMF
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