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Wounded policeman on Syntagma, his weapon stolen

17 January 2012 / 16:01:59  GRReporter
3272 reads

Anastasia Balezdrova

The incident happened during the demonstration of the union of private sector employees. The policeman was taken by ambulance, the victim is a representative of the riot forces. He was not on duty today and was dressed in civilian clothes.

The protest march was organized by the workers' centre in Athens and the confederation of workers in the private sector. It involved working and dismissed employees of different companies and employees in public enterprises that are to be closed.

Overall, however, the protest went peacefully and without incidents. Participants gathered at Klafthmonos square in the centre of the Greek capital. There a platform was built from which representatives of the groups of employees presented their problems and called for joint action against "the government policy, the Troika and the International Monetary Fund." Union representatives from various public and private companies and a large group of immigrants were present, carrying placards with different content. From "Hands off immigrants" to "we're against the default and for the cancellation of debt" and their author was Workers Solidarity.

After the speeches, the procession went to Syntagma Square. Some of the protesters turned to the parliament building, while others wanted to go around the square to get to the Ministry of Finance. Dozens of policemen guarded the parliament building but the security measures were not so enhanced as in other rallies. The protesters remained on the avenue for more than an hour, shouting slogans from time to time.

Some of the employees of Alter TV were among them. The representative of journalists in the television Vassilis Dzimtsos told GRReporter the "odyssey" of the employees and their job retention efforts.

"We have been in a job retention mode since 10 November 2011. We have been in the television premises 24 hours a day for a month now, making a strike bulletin. We present the problems caused by the Memorandum, the government and the supervisory Troika to the journalists, the media in general, and to all working people.

Our demands are the full wages earned to be paid and we expect the management to meet our request. There is no response at present. Many of us have not received salaries for ten months. Some are unable to meet even their basic needs.

I think the purpose of all the uncertainty, which began a year ago, is to exhaust us financially and morally to accept to work for less money and to abandon our demands. This cannot happen. We will continue to fight until we are paid the money we have earned with our labour."

According to Vassilis Dzimtsos, currently there is no proposal from the management of Alter TV to its employees, which could solve the present situation. "There was an unofficial proposal that was never ultimately supported. They had proposed to lay off between 260 and 350 of the 650 employees and for the others to return to work without being paid or to receive a salary for one month in advance - only this and nothing more at a time, when they owe salaries for 10 months. I find no logic in this proposal. We expect another serious offer. Otherwise, the television will go bankrupt and as a result, 650 employees will remain on the street. And among them, there are many heads of households with a total of 300 children."

The situation with technicians is similar. According to George Papadopoulos, his colleagues have not received salaries for seven months to a year. He stressed that employees have not occupied Alter TV, as the owners had charged them. "We are constantly on duty to protect the premises from attacks by third parties. We want the television to survive and work. We need jobs and money to provide for our families and be useful to society and the country."

"The management is making some proposals from time to time like the last one - to give five million euro for the salaries of the employees to be fired and for the rest to continue to work without salaries for an indefinite period of time until the television starts earning to pay them gradually.

Furthermore, one of the owners opened a new TV named Kontra channel while not paying us. It is broadcasting things that have nothing to do with our fight and us. For example, he claims that we started the job retention mode because we had not been paid for seven days. This is not true. Problems with salaries started almost a year and a half ago. The worst thing is that they do not have a position to allow us to help the television. From the outset, we are mocked with promises that have never been fulfilled."

George does not see any positive developments in the future, because "as we see, these are unreliable people. We hope to find the investor they are talking about constantly. We do not even know his name. In practice, we are now hostage to the ambitions of the owners Andreas Kouris and Kostas Yanikos."

The new composition of the board of the television was announced in the late afternoon and the name of former chairman Kostas Yanikos was absent. In their blog, Alter TV employees expressed their hope that the new chairman will be able to solve the problems of the television and will pay their salaries.

Tags: GreeceProtestsWounded policemanSyntagma SquareReformsPrivate sectorTrade unions
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