Public sector workers go on strike
ATHENS: Greek public sector workers went on strike for the second time in a week yesterday, shutting schools and leaving hospitals with skeleton staff, as inspectors from Greece’s foreign lenders checked if the country was meeting its bailout targets.
From municipal police to teachers, workers began a 48-hour strike against plans to cut thousands of public sector jobs, public anger fuelled by the killing of an anti-racism rapper by a supporter of the far-right Golden Dawn party.
Adedy, the public sector umbrella union which organised the walkout, said government efforts to reduce the 600,000 strong civil service was ‘‘the most merciless plan’’ to eliminate workers’ rights.
The government has dubbed the plan a ‘‘mobility scheme’’, meaning workers will have to find work in another department within eight months or be laid off. The workers say the government is firing them indiscriminately at a time when Greece in enduring its worst peacetime crisis and record unemployment.
‘‘We call on the workers ... the selfemployed, the unemployed, the pensioners, the youth and everyone affected by these policies to give their resounding presence,’’ Adedy said.
Various groups, among them teachers, municipal police and doctors, planned to march towards the main Syntagma square later yesterday.
The trio of the country’s European Union, International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank, which began their review this week, were due to visit Administrative Reform Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis yesterday.
The latest review by the lenders, which have bailed out Greece with more than
240 billion (10 trillion baht), will determine the size of a third bailout to keep the country afloat and is expected to last at least until the end of next month.
Backed by a vocal anti-bailout opposition which has openly called on citizens to take to the streets to overthrow the government, unions have stepped up protests in recent months.