"la libertad nos une, la unión nos libera" Ibn Arabi, Murcia S XII

"la libertad nos une, la unión nos libera" Ibn Arabi, Murcia S XII _"Freedom unites us, unity frees us"


Ministry occupations greet troika's return

Ministry occupations greet troika's

by (Reuters) , (AthensNewsWeb) , 
(AMNA) 29 Sep 2011


Public sector workers protest outside the labour ministry
Public sector workers protest outside the labour ministry
Public sector workers organised the takeover of nine ministry buildings on Thursday morning, in protest at the labour reserve measure and the new uniform pay scale scale for civil servants.

The protesters have blocked the entrance to the finance, interior, agriculture, health, justice, environment and decentralisation and e-governance ministries, with workers in other ministries meeting to discuss joining the occupations.

The protests coincide with the the return of the European Commission (EC), European Central Bank (ECB) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) troika inspectors to Athens. Already, two low-ranking troika officials have been prevented from entering the finance ministry.

Protesting employees at the finance ministry said their aim is to obstruct a troika meeting with Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos, adding that they will remain in place for 48 hours.

The international team of auditors are in Athens to deliver a verdict on whether the government's tougher austerity measures qualify for the sixth bailout tranche, worth 8bn euros, which is essential to avert a default that would plunge the country into bankruptcy.

According to Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos, agreement has already been reached by telephone on the figures for the current year as well as for 2012, but the figures of 2013 and 2014 must be reviewed within the framework of the revision of the mid-term fiscal programme, a second bailout package that was passed in July.

Provided agreement is reached on those as well, an extraordinary Eurogroup meeting will take place in October and the sixth tranche will be disbursed by the end of October.

The cabinet is scheduled to meet early on Thursday to discuss and agree on a new wage scale for civil servants and the creation of the labour reserve, into which 30,000 state workers will be put at 60 percent of their salary. If they fail to find another state job within 12 months, they will be dismissed.

Apart from the labour reserve and uniform pay scale, the troika will also discuss the government's recently passed property tax and the proposed new tax system, which will see a decrease in the tax-free ceiling.

No schedule of troika meetings with ministers has been published so far, in which the country's accelerated deficit-cut strategy will be intensively discussed.

ADEDY president Kostas Tsikrikas said that the blockades were of a "symbolic nature", aimed at sending a "resounding message" to the government and the EU that the present situation cannot continue, given that working people, and public sector employees even more so, have born the major brunt of the austerity.

He added that the total losses to public servant incomes, including a new 20 percent reduction that will arise with uniform pay scale, exceeds 50 percent, warning that the measures being taken are unfair and ineffective since they will lead to increased unemployment and deeper recession.

ADEDY, which represents 730,000 civil servants, called a rally for 6pm and said it would march on parliament.

Taxi owners who oppose the liberalisation of their trade will continue their 48-hour strike on Thursday. Hospital workers protesting cuts will walk off the job for three hours.

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