Fresh strike next month

The country’s two major labor union confederations, GSEE and ADEDY, are heading for a general strike on February 13, in protest against the state budget and planned changes to the social security system. Employment and Social Security Minister Fani Palli-Petralia met yesterday with the heads of the Civil Servants’ Union (ADEDY). She described the meeting as «useful and constructive» and reiterated that the government will proceed with social security reform with responsibility, sensitivity and determination toward a socially just as well as viable system. ADEDY president Spyros Papaspyros noted that the unions will await statements and more specific positions from the government when the prime minister speaks in the relevant forthcoming parliamentary debate. He predicted that the government will not insist on its original positions but warned that if it did so, then «the answer will be given on the streets.» Papaspyros also called for minimum civil service pensions of 350 euros and average pensions of 750 euros, stressing that unions were calling for pensions to be calculated on the basis of the last salary received by employees before retirement. Yesterday, the Executive Committee of the General Confederation of Greek Labor (GSEE) decided by a majority to recommend at the January 23 plenary session that the country’s largest trade union umbrella organization call a national strike along with ADEDY for February 13. GSEE unionists also warned that if the government’s representatives on the committee which has been formed to re-examine the issue of arduous and unhealthy occupations insist on breaking down the professions into four categories, then GSEE’s representative Giorgos Romanias will most probably walk out of the committee deliberations.