New wave of strikes this week

The mounds of rubbish that piled up in Athens and other cities over the weekend are set to swell further this week, as striking municipal employees hold a second 48-hour strike starting today. Unions, which are seeking pay increases – in tune with a string of other striking civil servants – are expected to meet tomorrow to discuss further extending their walkout. Despite repeated protestations by the government – which faces elections by early May – that the budget cannot accomodate further public sector wage hikes, state Social Security Foundation (IKA) and hospital doctors, civil aviation employees and first aid workers are to launch strikes this week. On Friday, most public sector offices are expected to be closed due to a 24-hour strike called by the civil servants’ umbrella union. And today, police, coast guard and fire brigade unions are planning an Athens protest to coincide with the feast day of the police patron, St Artemios. Unionists earlier this month clashed with riot police in central Athens in what the government said verged on «mutiny.»