Home Greek news economy Metro Strikers Defy Samaras, Road Chaos Seen

Metro Strikers Defy Samaras, Road Chaos Seen

MMMStriking Greek Metro workers said they would stay off the job for a ninth consecutive day on Jan. 25 and disobey a mobilization order from the government to return or be fired or jailed.

The deadline for the strikers to return was 5 a.m. but labor union leaders said their members would not their headquarters alive if the government tried to force them back to work, setting the stage for another confrontation and another day of paralyzed traffic in Athens as workers on tram, trolleys, buses and trains said they would join the strike.

The Metro workers are protesting more cuts in their pay that would reduce their salaries by about an average of 20 percent, less than the reductions for many other civil servants as part of punishing austerity measures imposed by the government on the orders of international lenders.

“The Greek people have made huge sacrifices and I cannot allow any exceptions,” Prime Minister Antonis Samaras said  in reference to the metro workers’ insistence that they be exempted from the public sector wage structure. “Everyone should understand we will not repeat the mistakes of the past.” Parliament workers though have so far been exempted from more pay cuts and Samaras has yet to keep his vow to bring their salaries in line with other public workers.

Earlier, the head of the metro workers’ union, Antonis Stamatopoulos, proposed that employees call off their strike if the government agreed to pay them according to their collective contract, which lasts until April, and hold wage discussions in parallel.

Samaras held lengthy talks with Development Minister Costis Hatzidakis before the minister said the government would be instructing authorities to deliver civil mobilization orders to the striking metro workers as well as tram and electric railway employees, who total some 2,500 people. The employees face arrest if they don’t return to work after receiving the documents.

Stamatopoulos accused the government of being a “junta.” Greece’s main private sector union, GSEE, also backed the action. Two senior members of the major opposition party Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) MPs, Panayiotis Lafazanis and Dimitris Stratoulis, visited the workers depot to express support for the strikers and their opposition to the government’s decision.

Coalition partner Democratic Left also voiced objections, describing the civil mobilization order as “an extreme choice,” and called for more dialogue. However, party sources underlined that the issue would not cause a rift within the three-party government. PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos expressed support for Samaras’s decision, describing the strike as “unacceptable.”

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  • Alex

    Our government has to finally balance a budget. To do this requires cuts in spending. These unpatriotic greek striking fanatics are no exception. Don’t give in to union blackmailers like the last unprincipled ND administration did. Giving into blackmail will not change the laws of mathematics.

    Arrests are inappropriate. No one should be forced to work in they don’t want to. It will just lead to more strikes with communists manipulating the situation to further their ends.

    The way to end this standoff is put ads in the newspaper. “Now hiring metro workers”. The longer they strike, the more more they risk losing their jobs to new hires. Plenty of unemployed hungry Greeks will line up for the job. Watch as all the commie dominated unions that claim to “care for the
    people”… attack the poor people that accepted the wages they refused
    to work for.

    We need to give our economy a chance to recover and political stability to return by working to end the constant disruptive riots/strikes.

  • Alex

    “Now hiring metro workers”.

  • Alex

    “Now hiring metro workers”.

  • Alex

    “Now hiring metro workers”.

  • Alex

      “Now hiring metro workers”.

  • Alex

    “Now hiring metro workers”.

  • Alex

    “Now hiring metro workers”.

  • Alex

    “Stamatopoulos accused the government of being a “junta.”

    Union leader Mr. Stamatopoulos dishonestly framing a democratically elected government as a “junta” only further demonstrates what a self-serving manipulator he is. Facism. Racism. Junta. Dictatorship. Leftist extremists like Mr. Stamatopoulos just spit out words without caring who they stander with them. The truth is they don’t care an iota about the Greek people. All
    they care about is that they line their pockets with government money. This is why that hate austerity. They can no longer live off the backs of others. They just try to manipulatively frame their unpatriotic greed as altruism. 

    The fact metro unions chose such a dishonest greedy manipulator  as union head speaks volumes about the quality of their judgment.  Samaras needs to  stand up to these lawless ranting mobs. One brave man armed with the right ideas… that doesn’t break their principles for the sake of ranting hoards of fanatics… can change the world.  Pay major newspapers in Athens to run ads…

    “Now hiring Metro workers”. 

  • worldarts

    This obscene crminal gang comprised of both PASOK and New Democracy who have destoryed Greece for 37 years will soon FALL!