ECONOMY

Bank employees strike

OTOE, the umbrella union of bank employees, decided yesterday to extend its strike for two more days, tomorrow and Friday, and appeared determined to fight the government tooth and nail for what it calls «the autonomy of (its members’) auxiliary pension funds.» Yesterday, the first day of OTOE’s original 48-hour strike, the union said participation was massive. Even in privately owned banks, where strikes usually find little support, at least 70 percent of employees participated. OTOE members yesterday marched through central Athens to the Ministry of Economy and Finance. A delegation met with Deputy Minister Christos Folias because Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis was abroad at the meeting of the Eurogroup, the 12 eurozone finance ministers. «We asked the deputy minister (for the government) to quit thinking about submitting a law against the employees’ pension rights. We called for a serious, essential dialogue among concerned sides to find a solution to the pension fund issue through the creation of an ‘Integrated Bank Employees (Auxiliary) Pension Fund’,» OTOE said in a statement. There was no announcement following the talks. OTE only said this in its statement: «The OTOE Executive Secretariat met at 3 p.m. and – having acknowledged the great success of the strike on the first day of the 48-hour strike and on the basis of the messages by struggling employees across Greece – decided on a new 48-hour strike across Greece at all banks, for Thursday, June 9, and Friday, June 10.» The decision was by a majority vote, with the pro-government union DAKE voting against. OTOE will also hold a press conference tomorrow at 1.30 p.m., «where it will disclose data on salaries and pensions in order to finally stop the black propaganda about ‘privileged employees’.» The General Confederation of Greek Labor (GSEE) is ready to join the fray with a strike of its own, «if the government passes anti-labor measures on working hours, such as abolishing the eight-hour day,» it said. GSEE added that if the government decides to amalgamate employees’ auxiliary pension funds under the Social Security Foundation (IKA) – a measure that would affect those employees hired after January 1, 1993 – it would jointly with OTOE petition the European Commission, the European Government and the International Labor Office to rule such a move illegal.