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Athens centre inaccessible due to road chaos, strikes and protest blockades

28 September 2011 / 19:09:40  GRReporter
3032 reads

Anastasia Balezdrova

Inaccessible central arteries and road chaos reign in Athens due to the strike of the employees of all means of public transport and taxis. The Athens District Court ruled that their yesterday strike was illegal. The same is expected to happen today but it does not improve the lives of the Greek capital inhabitants in any way.

In addition, there are various protest actions of civil servants against the measure of transferring 10 per cent of public enterprises employees to the labour reserve. The staff of the Ministry of Development and the Ministry of Environment held protests in front of them. Municipal officials occupied municipalities, blocked the traffic on the central boulevards and streets, and later in front of the Ministry of Finance, burned their tax notices obliging them to pay extra income tax. At the same time, the strike by tax offices staff, customs officers and employees of the Ministry of Finance, who protested against the introduction of the unified salaries table in the public sector continues for a second day in a row.

Taxi owners in Athens expressed their willingness to continue to fight against the vote of the bill, which will liberalize their profession, in front of the Ministry of Transport.

Hundreds of them gathered outside the Ministry within the 48-hour strike held today and tomorrow. The President of the Athens union Evtimios Limberopoulos has rekindled the spirits with his warning to the Minister of Transport Yannis Ragousis that he has to pass through fifty thousand corpses to reach to the vote on the bill. He described as positive the fact that today the leadership of the union met the Secretary of the Ministry, who promised that the dialogue with the political leaders would continue.

"We hope this time they tell the truth and this is not deception," said Evtimios Limberopoulos and stressed again that taxi owners are determined to fight to the end against the policy, "which makes our profession and thousands of families nearly extinct." He presented the conditions of his profession to the media. They are to transfer the permits from person to person legally, to keep the head offices in their present form and expand them, not to give new permits and any new entity opened to be based on the present permits.

Evtimios Limberopoulos announced that the union would get in touch with other professional organizations of lawyers, pharmacists, engineers, notaries and others whose professions will also be liberalized to create a united front in order to eliminate the specific policy and the government.

Tomorrow, taxi owners will gather in front of the union building and will hold a procession to the parliament "together with other unions." Their union leader urged them to participate in any protests that are against the government and its policies.

At the same time, striking drivers from the public transport took off passengers from coaches in central Athens. They stopped at trolley stops to take passengers to the airport for a fee of five euro, pretending they were serving the citizens. Angry members of their union came to the Ministry of Transport to seek explanations for what happened. They met the Secretary, but the meeting was unsuccessful.

Unionists turned to the interurban transport management requesting the cessation of illegal courses, and later filed a lawsuit for unlawful seizure of route and transport activities.

It became clear minutes ago that all means of public transport in Athens will operate normally from tomorrow until the end of the week. The union of the employees will hold a meeting next Monday to decide whether the strike will continue next week. In any case, trade unionists warned that the problems with transport and traffic would not stop until the government abandons its intention to apply the labour reserve measure in the urban transport companies.

For each day of the strike, the company and the Greek state are losing over one million euro. Two days ago, Minister Yannis Ragousis warned the strikers that if they continue with their protests it is likely to be left without salaries in the coming months.

 

Tags: SocietyStrikesProtestsTaxiUrban transportLabour reserveLiberalization of professions
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