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Athens metro workers call new strike for Saturday

Athens metro employees said on Friday that they would continue with strike action on Saturday, calling the third 24-hour walkout in a row.

Unionists, who oppose the government's plans to reduce their wages, met earlieron Friday too discuss the possibility of carrying out rolling 24-hour strikes to oppose the measures.

Reacting to the announcement about Saturday's strike, Transport Minister Costis Hatzidakis said that "no group of workers will be exempted from the unified salary structure," referring to a new reduced wage scale for civil servants. "There is no scope for concessions," the minister said, noting that the measures must be implemented as part of the country's commitments to foreign creditors.

There was no metro service in the capital for a second consecutive day on Friday due to a protest by metro drivers and other workers. Employees at the Kifissia-Piraeus electric railway and tram were also on strike on Friday.

The government wants to bring the salaries of all employees at public enterprises, known as DEKOs, in line with a new across-the-board pay structure for civil servants.

Skai TV reported that metro, electric railway and tram workers will suffer reductions of 9 to 17 percent as a result of the reform.

Employees had argued that they work under different conditions to regular civil servants and should therefore be exempted from the unified pay scale.

However, they were informed on Thursday by government officials that this would not happen.

“There can be no exceptions,” said Development Minister Costis Hatzidakis. “The government cannot back down on this.”

Speaking to Skai TV, the head of the SELMA union of metro workers, Manthos Tsakos, said that the option of a long-term strike is being examined by employees.

Bus and trolley bus employees are due to meet on Monday to decide on possible action.

ekathimerini.com , Friday Jan 18, 2013 (20:55)  
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