Taxi drivers, tax collectors, doctors and garbage collectors all signaled a new round of strike action on Wednesday in response to government pledges for the swifter enforcement of austerity measures.
Taxi drivers called a 24-hour strike, to begin at 5 a.m. on Thursday, and hinted at more action on Saturday, after the government refused to amend legislation opening up their sector to competition. According to the bill, which is to be submitted in Parliament next month, anyone will be able to apply for a taxi drivers? license – as long as they do not have a criminal record, speak good Greek and pay an application charge, to be set somewhere between 15,000 and 30,000 euros. Assuming that the legislation is voted through Parliament, the first new licenses will be issued by the end of the year.
Cabbies – who vehemently object to the reforms, complaining that there are already too many taxis on Greek roads – caused havoc to the crucial tourism sector last month by not only striking for two-and-a-half weeks but also blocking ports, airports and roads.
The taxi drivers? sector is not the only one up in arms over austerity. Tax collectors called a 48-hour strike for next Monday and Tuesday, protesting plans by the government to suspend civil servants with reduced pay for 12 months.
Doctors, protesting planned cutbacks, are to start a two-day walkout on Thursday.
Municipal garbage collectors are to start rolling 48-hour work stoppages on Sunday, calling for the reinstatement of colleagues whose short-term contracts have expired. And state school teachers are also to start rolling strikes from September 22.