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The government threatens transport workers with dismissals

23 January 2013 / 21:01:26  GRReporter
2211 reads

The "grip" between the government and the underground workers in Athens has further tightened following the decision of the trade union organisation to continue their strike for the seventh day in a row. The electric train and tram transport workers were "satisfied" with a few hours of work stoppage.

The strike continues despite the protests of the management of the company directing the public transport and the fact that the court has declared it illegal.

Trade unionists refuse to suspend the strike, which they say is against "the reduction of staff through allocating it to other services and dismissals, against the wage cuts and deteriorating working conditions."

They accuse the government of "spreading false information" regarding the participation in the strike. According to the data that has initiated the prosecutor’s investigation, the majority of workers do not go to work but get paid by using due days off and sick leave.

On Tuesday, the company managing the underground, the electric train and the trams, STASI S.A., filed a complaint in court again. The judges declared today’s strike illegal and banned its implementation.

In an official communication, the company urges the workers to "respect the decision of the court and to return to work." The management accuses the trade unionists of employing a delaying tactic by changing their demands without adhering to statutory regulations.

"In public transport companies, it is necessary to observe the statutory time limits for the announcement of a strike because special preparation is needed to inform and serve the citizens by other means of transport," the statement reads. The company warns that it is determined to take all legal measures against the strikers.

The government, in turn, seems determined to break the intransigence of trade unionists. In an interview for Vima radio, the speaker of the cabinet Simos Kedikoglou sent an ultimatum to the public transport workers.

"By tomorrow, the main initiators must comply with the decisions of the court. Otherwise, they will be subject to all the penalties provided by law," he stated and added that one of them was dismissal.

"Partisan interests are lying behind the strike but no one will come out to assume the responsibility for the inconvenience and the problems it is causing. But the harassment of citizens and the turmoil in the economic life of the city cannot continue. The means of public transport must begin to function normally immediately," the government spokesman added.

Employee representatives replied to his statements with the words, "Problems cannot be solved with threats." The president of the union of underground workers Antonis Stamatopoulos said, "Such threats do not frighten us."

"We were fired the first day on which the country signed the Memorandum with the International Monetary Fund. They cut the staff and wages, and now, they are threatening to dismiss us," he said and did not fail to make his own threat, "If they order a forced return to work the entire transport system will die."

Trade unionists denied that their salaries were high and challenged the ministry to announce them publicly. Meanwhile, social and some traditional media published examples of the salaries of underground workers. For example, the chief of protocol receives a monthly salary of 1,702 euro and an additional 1,096 in various allowances, namely a total of 2,798 euro.

Meanwhile, it has become clear that the underground will not be operating tomorrow either. The electric train and trams will not be running between 12 am and 4 pm, and buses and trolleys - between 11 am and 5 pm. In practice, this means that some of the buses will stop running as early as 10 am. Respectively, the traffic along the routes will not start before 6 pm.

Social unrest is growing each passing day. According to sources, the government is determined not to give in to union pressure. "Because if the trade unionists win, we can surely forget about reforms and expect Memorandum 4 with new taxes for ordinary people," as stated in one of the many similar comments on the social networks.

Tags: SocietyStrikePublic transportDismissalsTrade unionists
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