Government refuses public sector workers’ demands for permanent jobs Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos guaranteed yesterday that all public sector contract workers would be paid any outstanding wages but also said that the government would not make their positions permanent. Thousands of contract workers have been protesting around Greece recently about job insecurity and unpaid salaries. Pavlopoulos said that previous PASOK governments were to blame for the situation because they had bypassed procedures for hiring people in the civil service. Pavlopoulos said that 33,000 of some 73,000 contract workers have already been given open-ended contracts. He said the rest did not fulfill the necessary requirements and the government would not bend the rules for them. BANK STRIKE Unionists complain about lack of action from ruling conservatives The Greek Federation of Bank Employees’ Unions (OTOE) yesterday accused the government of «guilty indifference» because it has not intervened in a dispute between banks and their employees over collective contracts. OTOE said that its members will go ahead with a 24-hour strike on Friday in protest at plans to limit collective wage bargaining in the banking sector. OTOE and bank executives broke off negotiations on October 2. CONSTRUCTION THEFT Pair stole 100,000 euros in materials Two men were arrested in Menidi, northwest Athens, yesterday on suspicion of stealing some 100,000 euros’ worth of building materials from construction sites in Attica, police said. The two men are aged 27 and 45, but were not named. They were arrested while transporting some plumbing materials which they had allegedly stolen from a building site. Police said the pair are responsible for 33 such thefts. Allegedly they also stole items from warehouses belonging to the Public Power Corporation and Hellenic Petroleum. Doctor shortage Officials from the Health Ministry are due to meet with representatives of state hospital doctors tomorrow to discuss a possible shortage of medical staff from January, when new work hours come into effect. Under new European Union regulations, doctors will not be able to work more than 58 hours a week and they have expressed concern that this will lead to staffing problems at state hospitals next year. PASOK MP Maria Damanaki yesterday accused the government of not dealing with the «time bomb.» The Health Ministry said it was a problem that had been caused by the inactivity of previous PASOK governments. Driver arrested Police arrested yesterday the driver of a school bus that was transporting preschool children in Kamatero, western Athens, for not possessing the appropriate driver’s license. The 61-year-old man held a category B driving permit and not the necessary category D license. Hazardous waste Prosecutors in Athens have launched an urgent investigation into claims that public health may be at risk due to the way a company is transporting and disposing of potentially hazardous medical waste, sources said yesterday. The court of first instance prosecutors office is probing allegations by another company in the field that waste from hospitals in Attica, Thessaloniki, Thrace, Thessaly and Crete is not being handled properly. Penalty charge President of the National Council for Radio and Television (ESR) Yiannis Laskaridis has denied claims by Ant-1 TV that employees of the watchdog may be pocketing bonuses from the fines imposed on the station. Ant-1 was fined a total of 400,000 for its coverage of the recent teenage rape case. In a letter to the TV company yesterday, Laskaridis said the law stipulates that all income from fines is considered to belong to the state and none is paid to ESR or its employees. Motorcyclist killed A 25-year-old male motorcyclist was killed in Thessaloniki yesterday when he ran his motorbike into a street sign, authorities said yesterday. The cause of the accident was not disclosed.