Municipal protests to continue

Municipal workers who since last month have been protesting against plans to place several hundred employees in a labor mobility scheme that could lead to them losing their jobs are to continue their action at least until next week, it was agreed on Thursday.

Following a meeting of the municipal employees’ union (POE-OTA), the executive committee decided to continue the protests, which include sit-ins at town halls, until Monday. The decision followed a fruitless meeting between POE-OTA president Themis Balasopoulos and Interior Minister Evripidis Stylianidis.

Stylianidis said he could not alter plans to place municipal employees in a scheme where they will receive 75 percent of their salaries and face losing their jobs if new positions are not found for them within 12 months.

Civil servants occupying Athens City Hall briefly suspended their protest so the municipality’s accounts office could issue payments for employees on open-ended contracts.

Thessaloniki Mayor Yiannis Boutaris said that he could appeal to a prosecutor and ask for the police to end a sit-in protest at City Hall that has seriously disrupted the municipality’s work. “For the municipality to function properly, I will bring in [Joseph] Stalin if needed,” he said at a news conference. Boutaris said that 50 municipal employees are preventing staff who want to go to work from entering City Hall. He said that the municipality had failed to collect around 2 million euros in rates as a result of the protest.

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