A week of strikes and marches

A series of strikes this week will affect major archaeological sites, schools, universities, state hospitals and law courts – as well as taxi and rubbish removal services – while demonstrations planned through the center of Athens are expected to aggravate the capital’s chronic traffic problems. Undeterred by government’s insistence that budgetary strictures will allow no major salary increases, unions have embarked on a concerted wave of industrial action, hoping to extract concessions from the ruling Socialists who face national elections by next May. Today and tomorrow, the Acropolis and Knossos, two of Greece’s most popular archaeological sites, will be closed due to a strike by Culture Ministry guards. Also today, schoolteachers go on strike. State secondary schools will be closed for two days, while the strike will only affect primary schools today. Private school teachers are also supposed to go on strike, although participation is expected to be lower than at state schools. University and state technical college (TEI) teaching staff will continue with a three-week-old strike. State hospitals will function on a skeleton staff for the next three days due to a doctors’ strike, while ambulance workers will hold a five-hour work stoppage. And municipal offices will be closed today as employees – including rubbish collectors – strike. Taxi drivers will join in the fun on Wednesday, with a two-day strike. Unionists are protesting against a government decision obliging cabbies to install cash registers in their cars, and want an increase in fares as well as access to Athens bus lanes for the capital’s estimated 15,000 cabs. On Saturday, what had been billed as a 24-hour taxi strike ended early in the afternoon.

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