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Athens: Protesting Municipality Workers Carry the Government to …Grave.

Four men in black carry a wooden coffin. The band of Athens Municipality plays funeral music. Three men carry funeral wreaths with the names of the leaders of the three-party coalition government. The procession walks slowly through the streets of downtown Athens, passes through the Ministry of Administrative Reform and reaches outside the Greek Parliament.

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Municipality workers’ union POE-OTA organized the symbolical funeral of Samara’s government to protest the ‘labour reserve’ that will forcefully send home 2,000 workers with 75% of their salary as of 1. December 2012. After the period of one year, the workers will be confronted with the option of being dismissed and thus without compensation.

The protest was joined also by members of  several public sectors unions like civil servants, hospital doctors and teachers.

Some 100 municipality workers on motorcycles protested with black balloons.

The measure of ‘labour reserve’ had fueled an explosive atmosphere among public servants with rebelling majors refusing to send to minister in charge lists with the names of those to be sent home.

On Wednesday, Minister Antonis Manitakis issued a circular threatening to send home randomly chosen 2,000 people, also those who were supposed to be exempted like disabled or single-parent workers.

Samaras’ coalition partners PASOK and Democratic Left insist that there will be no dismissals after the period of one year and that workers will be transferred to other services. However a Troika paper was leaked to the press on Wednesday, claiming that these workers will be dismissed at the end.

Another 25,000 people are due for labour reserve in 2013.

Στιγμιότυπο από προηγούμενη διαμαρτυρία των εργαζομένων

So far only 20 out of more than 300 municipalities have sent lists with names. The majority of local governments are under occupation by angry workers.

Tomorrow Friday, Nov 23/2012, municipalities will be closed, workers will protest again in downtown Athens.

 more pictures & videos: zougla.gr, newsit

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6 comments

  1. Why not cycle those public sector jobs to those 450€/month young workers? It would a) save taxpayers money b) serve justice, as middle aged people are more guilty for the economic mess than young, as they have obviously voted substandard politicians, and young generation has had much less opportunity to vote.
    Also, middle aged are generally much better equipped to find a job on the private sector. And, who knows, young civil servants might be less corrupt and more eager to find productive ways of doing things.

    Just a thought.

  2. As a “450€/month young worker”:

    Why not stop taking for granted that “those 450€/month young workers” have any desire to remain “450€/month workers”? In Germany, an average joe bus driver is paid 2200. In Norway, an average joe garbage collector is paid 4500. In Greece, a white-collar job would be paid 800 – before the austerity. No solution involves cutting it to 450, thank you.

    The problem is far more complicated than how it’s presented. There’s certainly a degree of responsibility on the shoulders of previous generations, but whichever way you choose to see it, you cannot blame 100% of a people for a 30% election – that means 70% can’t be held responsible for the policies of said government as “their choice”.

    I fully agree that the public sector has always been in dire need of cuts, I’ve always been of that view. But not those spastic panic cuts. There’s a crew of 5 electricians responsible for an area of 426.3 sq.km. in two shifts. That’s just not adequate, and it’s the result of frantic reckless cuts for the sake of cutting.

    Scheduled and smooth transition towards the private sector can and will work, yes. Leaving 1/4 of workers unemployed overnight will : a. drive them to desperation, b. drive them to seek further exploitation of loopholes and acquaintances to survive, c. create a large reduction of tax income and d. create a large reduction of social security payments. I can’t see how anyone would think that “helps” anything.

    Then again, people seem to think the bailout packages are “helping” Greece, when in fact they’re helping creditors and providing the package-givers a nice interest rate and do nothing for the country itself. That’s like treating lung cancer by advocating smoking. You can’t solve a debt problem by adding debt and reducing GDP.

    Greece has always had a painfully large gap in salaries with other developed EU countries, while cost of life was similar due to the Euro. Now it’s a chasm.

    Sure, cycle those jobs to the “450€/month young workers” – they’ll still demand their salaries to be restored to a proper level. And since the ones that will get “tossed out” are someone’s father, mother, brother, you’re just shifting their cost of life to “those 450€/month young workers.”

    How is anyone supposed to live on 450€ (even on their own) when electricity and rent alone would be above that? The rent won’t be lowered, given the overtaxation in property, so don’t hold your breath. And half of the electricity bill is taxes, so that won’t be lowered either. Live on… what? Air? Wish we could.

    • In Greece, a white-collar job would be paid 800 – before the austerity.

      Guess you must be talking about white-collar jobs in the private sector. Because before the crisis the white-collar civil servants would on average earn 3 times more then their private sector colleagues.
      Nowadays most unemployed are those private sector workers while their civil servant colleagues are still having a paid job and are fighting like mad to not even get a tiny percentage of them into a labour reserve with 60% of their last, very inflated, incomes.
      But who cares! You probably did not vote so, like Ephilant put so nicely, you agree with the measures… 😀

  3. you cannot blame 100% of a people for a 30% election – that means 70% can’t be held responsible for the policies of said government as “their choice”.

    Abdicating from your responsibility to vote does not, under any circumstances, exonorate you from co-responsibility of what happens afterwards. In fact, a non-vote is in reality a yes vote, because the only way to say “No” is by voting “No”. there is no “Maybe” option when voting, although at least one of the government parties would seem to think there is. Anything other than “No” is to say the least silent agreement with whatever happens afterwards.

    Scheduled and smooth transition towards the private sector can and will work, yes.

    No, it wont. Ask anybody who has been at the receiving end of privatizing public transport, water schemes, telephones, electricity etc. what it does. Price hikes like there is no tomorrow, and a complete dismantling of anything that could be called customer service. The only thing that happens with privatization is asset stripping and enrichment of the few at the expense of the many. Copy book EU policy as prescribed by the Troika. They will even provide the loans sorry “bailouts” to help their friends lay their hands on the juicy bits to be privatized. And you and I not only pay it back, but with 7% interest on top. While our “elected” facilitators reap their reward with cushy jobs in the ECB, EC, or as chairperson of a private company robbing the country blind…
    Certain things are a service out of necessity, and will never work on a privatized = profit making basis. That is what taxes are for, or should be for. To pay for public services, not to pay for state cars for politicians, ridiculous bonusses for public sector managers, embarrasing promo videos, and all the other wasteful activities government is engaging in to reward friends and relations for keeping government in government. That is in fact what the 70% non-voters helped achieve, by not saying “No”.

  4. I agree whole-heartedly with what Mr. Ephilant said.

    1. Privatization is nothing but permit for legal looting/robbing of the mass.

    2. Tax money must be for public services such as health-care, education, water, sewage treatment, and so on…

    3. Whoever want to get rich should seek it in private sectors, but not in public offices of government. These offices should be for those who have genuine desire to serve their own people. That’s why people call them leaders: To lead, NOT to get rich (by abuse of the office’s power)!