Teachers herald strike on Thursday, Friday, rallies on March 25

The Union of Secondary School Teachers (OLME) on Tuesday said it is organizing a strike for Thursday and Friday, as well as rallies on the March 25 national holiday celebrating Greek independence, in protest at the looming dismissal of 204 educators in information technology.

The strike is planned ahead of the March 22 expiry of the period during which 1,845 IT teachers have been in a labor mobility scheme that has seen them on reduced pay since July while their status is assessed. According to sources in the Education Ministry, 1,261 will be transferred to other posts after the expiry of the term and 380 will be rehired in new positions, meaning that 204 can expect to be let go.

OLME met on Monday night with representatives of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and have scheduled a meeting with President Karolos Papoulias on Tuesday to plead the case of the 204 state workers who are facing the axe, though sources said that the ministry is determined to meet its quota of public sector layoffs demanded by the country's creditors.

The union on Tuesday suggested that it will increase its protest action unless its demands are met, calling on educators to be on stand-by for the announcement of possible rallies during student parades marking the anniversary of the Greek War of Independence from Ottoman rule on March 25, as well as during the military parade in central Athens.

Local teacher associations have been touring the country's schools since Monday to drum up support for the action.