NEWS

Civil servants strike anew over cuts

A week of strikes begins on Tuesday with a “warning” walkout by administrative staff at universities, who wreaked major upheaval in the higher education sector with a three-month strike at the end of last year, while action by archaeologists and hospital staff is also on the cards.

The union representing university workers, who are launching a two-day strike from Tuesday, is protesting the imminent dismissal of colleagues as part of the government’s civil service overhaul. Protesters, who say the strike is a “warning” to the authorities, are demanding the abolition of an evaluation system imposed by the troika. In accordance with reforms pledged by the government to the troika, employees are either transferred to another post in the civil service or fired after an eight-month evaluation period.

Athens University staff have said they will assemble in front of the main faculty building in central Athens from Tuesday and block its entrance while similar protests are expected at other faculties across the country. Sources indicated Monday, however, that university staff remain divided on how to continue with their action as continued walkouts would jeopardize students’ chances of completing the winter semester.

Upheaval is in store for other parts of the broader civil service too. A 24-hour walkout on Tuesday by Culture Ministry staff, who are also protesting streamlining in the civil service, is expected to cause disruptions at museums and ancient sites.

Meanwhile doctors and nurses are to walk off the job on Tuesday too, to underline their objections to the evaluation scheme for civil servants. The action is likely to leave public hospitals operating on skeleton staffs.

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