Protesting Finance Ministry cleaners take fight to Strasbourg

A delegation representing 393 Finance Ministry cleaners who were placed in a civil service mobility scheme last year, were in the second day of a three-day visit to Strasbourg on Tuesday, where they are holding meetings with unionists and members of the European Parliament.

The aim of the visit is to drum up support for their campaign to be rehired after being placed in a labor pool last year, which will likely lead to them being dismissed.

The decision to take their campaign to the European stage comes as a Supreme Court judge prepares to challenge a previous ruling by a First Instance Court instructing the government to rehire the cleaners.

Supreme Court judge Christoforos Kosmidis is reportedly drafting a decision which says that the cleaning ladies cannot be deemed as having been fired, but, rather, that they belong to a category of state employee whose positions were abolished as part of government measures to reduce public expenditures.

He is also expected to support a Finance Ministry decision stating that cleaning services in public buildings should be assigned to private companies.

The Supreme Court judge’s ruling comes in response to a ruling earlier this year by a First Instance court deeming the dismissals unconstitutional.

The cleaners’ campaign has already made international headlines as they have staged numerous protest rallies and a lengthy sit-in at Finance Ministry headquarters in central Athens.

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