Driving school instructors staged a demonstration on Wednesday outside the Transport Ministry in Athens to protest an ongoing strike by examiners which has created a huge backlog, with more than 5,000 people waiting to take driving tests.
Instructors, who are demanding government intervention, said the strike, which began on January 1, has led to a sharp drop in the number of people taking driving lessons since they do not know when they will take their exams.
Examiners took action after the government scrapped a monthly 170-euro state subsidy, as part of new legislation that forbids civil servants from earning supplementary incomes. Although the Transport Ministry reassured them that the subsidy would be restored, its efforts were blocked by the Finance Ministry and Greece’s creditors, who cited financial costs.
However, the Transport Ministry expressed optimism on Wednesday that the representatives of the country’s creditors could be persuaded to agree to the subsidy’s restoration as, it said, the examiners’ strike is costing the state 1.6 million euros in lost VAT and another 1.9 million euros in other taxes.
“Our struggle is a common one with the examiners,” said Deputy Transport Minister Marina Chrysoveloni, adding that the government will raise the issue again with creditors over the coming days.