NEWS

Workers scale up protest action

Workers as diverse as taxi drivers and garbage collectors stepped up industrial action Tuesday in protest at the government?s ongoing austerity drive.

Thousands of striking taxi drivers, who are up in arms over plans to liberalize their sector, rallied outside Parliament in the evening in a protest marred by occasional scuffles with police. The cabbies are due to return to work today after a 48-hour strike, the latest in a series of protests which peaked in August when they blocked roads, ports and airports, seriously disrupting the tourism sector.

Civil servants continued with strike action Tuesday and many are due to meet today to decide whether to continue their protests at the government?s plans to put thousands of public functionaries into a labor reserve pool on a heavily docked salary and to push thousands of others into early retirement.

Sources told Kathimerini Tuesday that the government is considering five alternatives for civil servants deemed to be ?surplus.? They will either be transferred to other parts of the civil service, put in the labor reserve pool, offered early retirement, offered a part-time role or released for five years without pay.

Tax collectors and customs officials — the civil servants on whom the government is relying to amass sorely needed revenue — concluded a two-day strike yesterday but they are expected to stage further action.

Meanwhile the odor of rotting garbage is lingering over the greater Athens area once again as municipal garbage collectors continue with rolling work stoppages, launched on Sunday, calling for the reinstatement of colleagues whose short-term contracts have expired.