Cabbies meet to decide on strike action

Greece’s taxi owners were meeting on Wednesday to decide whether to continue their strike action which has become an embarrassing disruption during the summer season and a source of friction inside the socialist administration.

On strike for a third week, cabbies object to the government’s plan to liberalize their sector — part of the conditions for Greece’s current bail-out loan ? and demand a cap on the number of taxi licenses that can be issued.

Unlike his socialist predecessor, Transport Minister Yannis Ragousis has refused to discuss anything short of full liberalization of the sector.

During talks between the two sides on Tuesday, Ragousis said the government would move on with the reform but, in a sign of hope for cabbies, he said the change would be regulated under a law, not a presidential decree.

This would give cabbies at least two months to push for alterations to the legislation.

Meanwhile, reports have emerged that some taxi drivers want to call off their action which has cost them dearly over the past 17 days. Taxi drivers on the popular island of Rhodes on Tuesday decided on call of their strike which is harming their pockets at the peak of the tourism season. Their Kos counterparts have already returned to work.

Inside the government camp, Ragousis’s hard-line approach has met with criticism from ruling party MPs. On Tuesday Vasso Papandreou, the head of Parliament?s economic affairs committee and a prominent PASOK cadre, slammed Ragousis for trying to introduce tough measures in August.

?Do you understand the implications of this in the middle of the tourist season?? Papandreou said.

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