Although the continued public transport strikes that have recently plagued the country have been a huge drain on state revenues, most workers that walk off the job have not felt the strain, as the majority continue to receive their monthly salaries in full, according to official data.
According to their critics, these “luxury strikers” are not only disrupting the daily commutes of millions of people, but have plunged the country’s cash-strapped state-run transport companies even deeper into debt.
Indicatively, during the recent strikes called by unions representing Trainose rail operator workers, around 95 percent of employees took the day off (which they were entitled to for previous overtime work) while others took sick leave.
The three work stoppages staged daily over the last three weeks by Trainose workers – who are protesting the company’s privatization – have had a devastating impact on the company’s finances, with lost revenue, since the beginning of the year, rising to around 1 million euros.
Moreover, in just 16 strike days during the first three months of 2016 alone, losses for the company stood at 150,000 euros.
Metro strikes have had a similar impact, as employees in their entirety have picked up the habit of walking off the job whenever one of the unions decides to call a strike.
But as it takes just one metro union to bring the subway to a halt, members of other unions also take part in the strike and still receive full payment even though they don’t show up to work, citing illness, or take the days off they are entitled to.
Other staff have claimed they wanted to work but were prevented from doing so by their unionist colleagues who monitor the strikes.
According to an analysis of budget figures for 2016, one day of striking costs STASY, the metro and tram operator, 652,221 euros (418,888 euros in lost revenue from the non-sale of tickets and 233,333 euros for one day’s worth of salaries for the striking employees).
The cost of a one-day strike for bus and trolley operator, OSY, is 695,833 euros (300,000 euros from the non-sale of tickets and 395,833 euros for employee salaries, even though they don’t show up for work).