Strike Shuts Down Greek Tax Offices

tax_officeWith Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, the New Democracy Conservative leader, hoping there won’t be a repeat of last year’s repeated strikes, protests and riots against austerity measures he’s imposing on the orders of international lenders, workers in tax offices across Greece walked off the jobs on April 23 and staged a rally outside the Finance Ministry.

According to the union of tax workers, POE DOY, the protest was to pressure the government to abolish “unjust taxation policies” such as an emergency levy colloquially known as “haratsi,” a 100 percent property tax surcharge put into electric bills under the threat of having power turned off for non-payment, which is happening to about 30,000 customers a month.

The government said it would reduce the tax by 15 percent. The levy, ordered by former finance minister Evangelos Venizelos, now head of the PASOK Socialists which is one of Samaras’ coalition partners, was begun two years ago and was supposed to be for one year only but looks to be permanent.

The workers are also demanding that no one is fired from key posts at tax offices and that employees hired via the Supreme Council for Personnel Selection (ASEP) see their salaries restored to levels before the government implemented pay cuts, tax hikes and slashed pensions on most workers in the country, apart from Parliament workers who were exempted when they threatened to strike too. Samaras said he would bring them under austerity but has backed down from them several times.

The union of chartered accountants also said it would join the action, calling on its members to refrain from conducting any transactions with tax authorities, further hampering the government’s ability to collect critically-needed taxes as revenues are off projections despite big pay taxes as austerity has made Greeks slow spending dramatically.


  • Opa

    I don’t know why Samaras doesn’t fire all the tax office workers, it’s not like anybody in Greece paid tax anyway.

  • Radical

    I don’t understand how any employee can get away with not doing their job! It’s become a ‘lifestyle’ not to do anything, because they know they won’t be fired, and still get a juicy pension at the end. Who is in charge?
    Efficiency does not exist. It’s a joke. Why can’t Samaras get a back bone and stand up to these people? Or is he just so desperate for votes that he’s too busy kisses their behinds. Trust me – they’re bending over just waiting for the smooch. Disgusting to have to lower yourself to these standards. Bad attitude and entitlement all around.
    As for not paying taxes – let me ask you this? Would I want to pay taxes knowing that it’s just lining the pockets of fat cat politicians, or would I be more than willing to pay if money was going towards jobs, hospitals, roads etc?

  • The maverik

    Opa, firing won’t solve any problem…Increasing Taxes won’t either solve the problem…A fair taxation system will help solve the problem…having said that, Greece is a bourdello kratos…Nothing will change the mentality and the attitude of the people…Greeks are mentally ill with striking for whatever reason, they just love to strike…Striking in Greece is like drinking frape…

  • Turkoglou

    Why would they when Greece keeps on getting welfare from the EU?

  • The maverik

    One thing you should understand and that Greece is a corrupt, mismanaged, ineffecient country from top to bottom…Nothing doesn’t work and nothing will work…Greek mentality will never change…

  • Radical

    Just when I thought it was ridiculously corrupt – they raise the bar to new levels of corruption.
    Do you think it will ever change?

  • The maverik

    They would’ve done changes years ago if they wanted…They had plenty of time to change what the EU imposed on them…The answer to your question “No” no change will take place and if it will just to please the EU only…