NEWS

More join strike bandwagon

Joining in a swelling wave of industrial action aimed at squeezing the government for as much as it is worth in view of the forthcoming elections, Olympic Airways flight attendants will hold work stoppages today. Tomorrow, Athens and Piraeus taxi drivers will hold a daylong strike, while state primary and secondary school teachers will not be going to work on Monday. University and state technical college (TEI) teaching staff have been on strike for the past three weeks. State hospital doctors will be on strike from Monday to Wednesday, while judges and prosecutors are also on the warpath. And the civil servants’ union is mulling a 24-hour strike later this month or in early November. Although today’s Olympic Airways protest will be limited to two three-hour strikes – from 8-11 a.m. and 5-8 p.m. – at least 11 international and domestic flights will be delayed by up to two hours, or merged with other flights. Strikers oppose management plans to press some 250 flight attendants into early retirement. A glimmer of hope appeared yesterday on the university and TEI front, with the government offering strikers a more generous deal than its initial proposal of a 7.2 percent salary increase next year. Sources said that unionists have responded favorably to the proposals advanced late on Wednesday by Economy Minister Nikos Christodoulakis – which include a 14 percent increase in state grants to universities. Strikers are demanding a total pay hike of 20 percent over the next two years. In the private sector, the General Confederation of Greek Labor (GSEE) said yesterday it would seek salary increases in excess of 6 percent next year. In August, inflation stood at 3.3 percent, year-on-year.