An overwhelming majority in Thessaloniki rejects the planned privatization of the local water and sewage company, EYATH, according to an unofficial referendum on the subject held alongside Sunday’s municipal and regional elections in Greece.
The organizers of the poll placed ballot boxes outside voting centers for municipal and regional elections across Greece on Sunday. Participation exceeded 80%, while in some voting centers, residents only took part in the referendum. The votes were counted by members of the city’s Bar Association.
The process was monitored by 30 trade unionists, working in water companies, as well as members of the European Federation of Public Service Unions (EPSU), and members of European organizations against water privatization from other EU countries (Italy, Sweden, Belgium, France, Austria, Germany, Netherlands).
In 2011, the Greek government announced plans to privatize EYATH, the state-run company that provides the city’s 1.5 million residents with water and sanitation services. The denationalization process is underway and two multinational companies have made it to the second phase of the tender for the utility.
The decision to privatize the city’s water supply has drawnwidespread reaction across Greece. Many coalition groups, including political parties, trade unions and the Orthodox church are opposed to EYATH’s privatization.