State pays road workers directly

The government has resorted to paying the employees of an important infrastructure project directly, rather than through the firms that employ them, in order to get the stalled roadworks moving again.

Deputy Infrastructure Minister Stavros Kaloyiannis signed a decision on Wednesday for the payment of 947,000 euros to workers that had been working on the road from Aktio to Amvrakia in western Greece.

The 48.5-kilometer road is set to link the Ionia Odos highway with the island of Lefkada and the town of Preveza. Lefkada is connected to mainland Greece by a bridge. The project was set for completion by next March, but constructors AEGEK, Ionios SA and Consorzio Stabile Italimprese gradually stopped paying their 174 workers, triggering industrial action.

The projects have been in a state of limbo for some months and the risk of missing the deadline for European Union subsidies forced the government to act and pay the workers directly with money that will be later deducted from the contractors? payments.