Greece’s Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras met on Thursday with the cleaning staff of the country’s public schools at the Maximos Mansion, where he announced a series of positive measures for their profession.
Tsipras received a large number of cleaning ladies along with the Minister of the Interior Alexis Charitsis and MEP Constantina Kouneva, who once worked as a cleaning lady herself.
Kouneva became a symbol of resistance more than a decade ago, when she was attacked with acid by a person who was irate over her demands for better working conditions for those in the cleaning profession in Greece.
The Greek Prime Minister told the cleaning staff he met with ”You are this group of Greece’s working class that works under the most difficult and precarious conditions.”
Με ιδιαίτερη χαρά και τιμή υποδεχτήκαμε σήμερα στο Μέγαρο Μαξίμου καθαρίστριες-μέλη συλλόγων σχολικών μονάδων από όλη την Ελλάδα. Η ελληνική κυβέρνηση βρίσκεται στο πλευρό των εργαζομένων, όλων όσων δουλεύουν κάτω από αντίξοες συνθήκες. pic.twitter.com/xEZioByP83
— Prime Minister GR (@PrimeministerGR) May 16, 2019
Tsipras announced a ten percent raise in their salaries and the inclusion of their profession on the list of ”heavy and hazardous professions,” which offers them a series of benefits and the chance to retire earlier than the rest of the population.
The Greek Premier also said that the labor contracts that the cleaners have already signed with Greece’s local councils will be extended to a two-year duration.
Cleaning ladies became a symbol for ruling left-wing SYRIZA party back in 2014, when the previous government decided to sack the cleaning staff which was working in the country’s Finance Ministry and assigned the cleaning services to a private company.
One of the SYRIZA party’s first bills when it came into power was to re-hire the fired cleaning staff, and since that time, Tsipras has held regular meetings with representatives of the profession in Maximos Mansion.