Striking Athens municipal street cleaners

Striking Athens municipal street cleaners and rubbish collectors demonstrated through the city center yesterday. They pledged to complete today a 48-hour strike they began yesterday despite a court ruling yesterday night deeming their action illegal. The Interior Ministry, which last month won its court appeal against a national municipal workers’ strike, refused to meet protesters, saying they should visit Mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos to discuss their demands for collective contracts and equal pay for permanent and contract workers. Labor Minister Dimitris Reppas yesterday sprang the invitation on labor representatives, calling a meeting with the leadership of the General Confederation of Greek Labor (GSEE) at 10 a.m., with the civil servants’ federation ADEDY at 11 a.m. and with employers’ federations at 6 p.m. Reppas, a former government spokesman practiced in the art of putting a positive spin on difficult subjects, said he hoped the dialogue on pension reform would lead to «getting over the current political climate.» This was a reference to the angry exchanges between the government and opposition over claims of widespread corruption.

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