The wave of strikes keeps rising

Talks between National Economy Minister Nikos Christodoulakis and representatives of university professors broke down yesterday, confirming the impasse and resulting in the continuation of a strike that has crippled universities at the start of the academic year. The government stuck close to its offer of a 7 percent pay rise. Professors, who demand 20 percent over the next two years, walked out. «The government is not going to give in. The government is taking into consideration the possibilities of the budget and the economy, but also what would provoke other groups,» Deputy Finance Minister Nikos Farmakis said after the meeting. At the same time, several other groups have been holding their own strikes, or gearing up for them. Yesterday, taxi drivers, who are on a strike that began early on Monday and is to end at 5 a.m. tomorrow, held a demonstration in central Athens that caused major traffic jams. They were joined by some 350 colleagues, in their vehicles, from Corinth, Tripolis, Argos and Larissa. The provincial cabbies parked along Athinon Avenue, leading to more jams. Transport Minister Christos Verelis and Apostolos Fotiadis, another deputy finance minister, were firm in their rejection of taxi drivers’ protests against having to install cash registers in their vehicles. The two government officials insisted that all taxis must have the registers installed by Jan. 1 and must have ordered them by Oct. 13. Drivers will plan further action next week. State veterinarians have been on strike all this week, leading to problems in the importation of meat and other foodstuffs and stopping the slaughter of livestock in many areas. Today state hospital doctors will hold a work stoppage from noon to 3 p.m. and warn of more action unless their basic pay is doubled.

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