Open-air street market vendors announce strike and march for Wednesday

Vendors at Greece’s open-air street markets, or “laiki,” will be on strike on Wednesday as their union is planning a protest rally at 9.30 a.m. at Syntagma Square in front of Parliament.

Street vendors at what are mostly markets of fresh produce are protesting the government’s plans to make entry into the profession easier. One of the most contentious reforms of the sector is the abolition of lifelong licenses, replacing them instead with licenses that need to be renewed every three years.

The union representing street vendors argues that the three-year limit thwarts any investment for developing their businesses as it is too short a time to ensure that they see any returns.

It has also expressed concerns that the liberalization of the profession will open the way for large companies to take over stalls, leading to an oligopoly in the sector.

Street vendors represent one of dozens of professional sectors that remain to be liberalized in line with demands from international creditors.