Victims allege abuse, theft
Four policemen in Athens were suspended yesterday following allegations that they stole 1,100 euros in cash from three people they arrested on suspicion of drug trafficking. The arrests took place on Wednesday after the three suspects, all Bangladeshi nationals, were found in possession of eight packets of cannabis and pills. The officers then searched one of the suspect’s homes, where they allegedly found the cash. One of the suspects also claimed he was beaten. An investigation by the police’s internal affairs department following a complaint by the three men found that the officers had not reported the incident at all. The drugs they seized were only handed in when they were called to Omonia precinct to explain what had happened.
A court in Athens is due to hear on Monday a case brought by state hospital workers against the Health Ministry over long working hours. POEDA, the union representing the hospital employees, argues that the ministry is not abiding by the European Union working time directive. It says doctors and nurses are not given 11 hours off between shifts as well as two days off and only one evening shift during the week. In November, the European Commission referred Greece to the European Court of Justice over the same issue. “In practice, doctors working in public hospitals and health centers in Greece often have to work a minimum average of 64 hours per week and over 90 hours in some cases, with no legal maximum limit,” the Commission said. “The Commission considers this situation a serious infringement of the EU’s Working Time Directive, endangering not only doctors’ health and safety but also their patients as overtired doctors risk making mistakes.”
The Education Ministry submitted an amendment to Parliament yesterday that would force teachers at state schools who are granted paid postgraduate study leave to produce evidence of the qualifications they have gained while away from work. According to the would-be law, the teachers will have to submit their degrees before they resume work. Anyone not complying will be forced to return the pay they received during their absence. Deputy Education Minister Simeon Kedikoglou said that some teachers had abused the study leave system in the past. “Such behavior was unacceptable and tarnished the very useful practice of granting study leave,” he said.