NEWS

Exams begin Friday after Greek teachers call off strike

University entrance examinations are to begin as normal on Friday, with pupils sitting papers in Modern Greek, after the secondary school teachers’ union (OLME) called off a planned strike, yielding to a civil mobilization order issued by the government that would have led to the arrest and dismissal of any employees joining the walkout.

OLME called off the strike on Thursday after a vote by representatives of local teachers’ associations late on Wednesday failed to produce the necessary majority to proceed with the walkout.

The vote was held after OLME failed to draw the unequivocal backing of the country’s two main labor unions, GSEE and ADEDY, as well as the public. The teachers’ also failed to attract broad political support for their cause with the main leftist opposition SYRIZA calling for the planned walkout to be suspended.

The response also exposed the rifts within OLME itself, with factions affiliated with the various political parties turning against each other. The government did not satisfy OLME’s request – echoed by Fotis Kouvelis, chief of junior coalition partner Democratic Left – for the civil mobilization order against teachers to be withdrawn. Police were to be on standby today to ensure that possible protests by teachers outside exam centers do not get out of hand.