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Closed pharmacies and strikes of municipal and civil servants

14 July 2015 / 11:07:43  GRReporter
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Tomorrow’s 24-hour strike of pharmacists will be the first of a series of protest reactions of Greek society against the reforms envisaged in the agreement with creditors. Pharmacies will remain closed on the day when the parliament is expected to vote on the first package of measures. Their trade union body, the Panhellenic Association of Pharmacists, will meet at the same time to draw up a plan for more intense protests.

The professional group in question protests against the liberalization of the profession and the sale of medicines without a prescription. According to pharmacists, these measures will lead to "the destruction of pharmaceutical care" in the country.

The agreement concluded between the Greek government and the creditors provides for extensive changes in the public sector. In particular, it describes the programme to depoliticise the public administration under the auspices of the European Commission. In protest, the trade union organization of public sector workers, ADEDY, has announced a 24-hour strike on 15 July. The union will organize protest rallies in Athens and other cities from 11:00 am and 7:30 pm.

The trade union of municipal employees, POE-OTA, has announced a strike too. "The trade union movement must continue to fight against the policies of budget cuts that are "lost" in a "bottomless barrel", reads the statement of the union.

The Greek government is obliged to submit to the creditors the initial proposal for this reform by 20 July. According to the Greek newspaper Ethnos that refers to sources from the Ministry of Administrative Reform, it has already submitted for public publication a bill on the methods to assess civil servants.

By signing the agreement, the Greek government is committed to further reduce the costs for the functioning of public administration. The measure provides for streamlining the staffing tables by this October and adopting a new one that will apply to the entire public sector from the beginning of 2016 onwards.

It will aim to gradually reduce the differences in wages as well as to reduce the basic salaries and increase the allowances of civil servants holding managerial positions in order to increase the difference between the employees with lower skills and those in managerial positions.

In addition, the Greek government has undertaken to revise the laws adopted after the Eurogroup agreement of 20 February that were not submitted to the representatives of the creditor institutions. The only exception among them is the law on providing humanitarian aid to certain social categories.

The agreement text describes the specific laws as "minimum requirements for the opening of negotiations with creditors." They are related to reinstating 3,920 redundant civil servants, including cleaning ladies at ministries, school guards, administrative staff at universities, etc. The employees of state broadcaster ERT fall in the same category too. The agreement also provides for changes in disciplinary law.

Tags: SocietySocial protestsStrikesPharmacistsCivil and municipal cervantsTrade unionsVoting on budget measures in parliament
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