Greek doctors, public transport workers on strike



ELENA BECATOROS | AP

Published — Thursday 31 January 2013

Last update 31 January 2013 7:12 pm

| نسخة PDF Print News | A A

ATHENS: Greek doctors, port workers and public transport staff in the country’s capital walked off the job on Thursday in strikes against deeply unpopular austerity measures that have seen incomes slashed as the country struggles to emerge from a deep financial crisis.
Hundreds of protesters gathered at separate demonstrations, with port workers rallying in Greece’s main port of Piraeus and about 500 public hospital workers chanting slogans outside the Health Ministry in central Athens.
One of the demonstrators, Tassos Antonopoulos, a member of the Greek Federation of Public Hospital Workers, said it wasn’t just medical staff who were suffering because of the cuts.
“People have less and more expensive options,” he said. “It is not possible for the citizens of this country, at a time when they are suffering from this situation and the crisis in the country, to not find the care that they deserve in the public hospitals.”
The strikes left Athens without buses, suburban rail and trolleys for the day, while Greek islands will be without ferry services for two days. With doctors and ambulance workers also on strike, public hospitals were functioning with emergency staff only on Thursday.
The capital’s subway system was running, however, as its workers were still under a civil mobilization order after the government invoked rare emergency powers last week to end an eight-day metro strike.
The civil servants’ union declared a three-hour work stoppage at all public services from noon in solidarity, shutting down other services such as post offices.
Greece has been gripped by a severe financial crisis since late 2009 and is being kept afloat by billions of euros in rescue loans from other eurozone countries and the International Monetary Fund. In return, the government has imposed wave upon wave of spending cuts and tax hikes, leading to severe salary and pension cuts and leaving unemployment spiraling to above 26 percent. Many of those still employed have not received paychecks in months.
“We want collective agreements to be signed, and back payments for working people to be paid,” said Savas Tsiboglou, head of the Greek Association of Merchant Marine Mechanics, as he demonstrated Thursday morning in Piraeus.
Workers have been protesting the abolition of collective wage agreements and planned reforms to the pension and income contribution system. Other measures that took effect this year include a 25 percent cut to the incomes of most public servants, leading to a string of new strikes and protests.
Separately, farmers in central Greece parked their tractors along the country’s main highway for a second day, under the watchful eye of riot police, threatening to shut the road to protest spending cuts and high fuel taxes.
Similar protests by farmers in the past have led to widespread disruption to transport and the supply of goods, with the central north-south highway shut for weeks.
____
Srdjan Nedeljkovic in Athens contributed.

What's happening around Saudi Arabia

JEDDAH: The Al-Haramain Train project is described as the largest public transportation project in the Middle East. This vital and strategic project is one of the implementation schemes of the mass expansion of the Saudi railway across the country.Th...
JEDDAH: The number of marriages between expatriates and Saudis has dropped 84 percent to 1,928 since the start of this Islamic year that began on Oct. 24, compared to the same period the previous year.The Ministry of Justice said that there were 12,0...
JEDDAH: Unofficial marriage is a refuge for a divorced mother to lead a married life while keeping her children in her custody but without the knowledge of the former husband who could demand the custody of the children if he learned about the ex-wif...
JEDDAH: Makkah’s health department has set up a committee to verify the sick leave certificates of employees.The department stated it would apply government regulations on sick leave, which includes people providing the address of the facilities wher...
RIYADH: The directorate of roads and transport has registered 20 cases of violations worth SR24,500 in Al-Qassim, where the transport ministry continued its surveillance drive against the companies in the transport business.According to the directora...
RIYADH: Muslims must cut traditionally high electricity use during Ramadan in line with the principles of austerity and self-control they are supposed to adopt in this month, economists say.Economist Al-Sadeq Idris said energy use increases during Ra...
RIYADH: The implementation of an integrated health plan to combat MERS has resulted in a sharp drop in cases, with only one out of 736 samples testing positive for the contagion in the Kingdom in the last six days. Health Ministry spokesman Dr. Khal...
RIYADH: Muslims must cut traditionally high electricity use during Ramadan in line with the principles of austerity and self-control they are supposed to adopt in this month, economists say.Economist Al-Sadeq Idris said energy use increases during Ra...
JEDDAH: The Ministry of Commerce and Industry will begin next Tuesday to check whether companies are complying with new laws requiring them to place proper price labels on all their products.It is mandatory for companies to stop using phrases such as...
RIYADH: Minister of Islamic Affairs Saleh Al-Asheikh chaired the first meeting with Yemeni scholars to exchange ideas on how to strengthen their role in restoring peace in their country.The first Saudi-Yemen scholars meeting, dubbed the “outreach sch...
RIYADH: To cope with the growing number of applicants (boys and girls) at technical colleges that reached 126,023 last year, a state-run organization launched an online unified portal to ease the enrolment procedures.According to the Technical and V...
RIYADH: A senior government official from Dhaka, who visited Riyadh last week, has sorted out technical issues to expedite issuing 1.5 million machine readable passports (MRP) to Bangladeshi expatriates in the Kingdom. Information and Communication T...
JEDDAH: Jeddah municipality is keen to provide health and food security to residents and visitors of the city, and they are continually conducting inspections of food stores, restaurants, markets and food storage facilities to avoid any violations by...
JEDDAH: Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman has been awarded a top international prize for his contribution to the propagation of the Qur’an.He was named the “Islamic Personality of the Year” by the Holy Qur’an International Memorization Or...
JEDDAH: Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, second deputy premier, minister of defense and chairman of the Economic Affairs and Development Council, held a meeting in Jeddah on Monday with Sheikh Tahnoon bin Zayed, deputy national security advis...

Stay Connected

Facebook