NEWS

Strike splits workers

Municipal workers agreed yesterday to extend their strike for at least three more days in a battle with the government over pension reforms, as a split between striking employees emerged. Municipal workers said yesterday they will extend their strike action until Wednesday as they tried to stop garbage collectors – who had ended their own strike – from depositing trash at Athens’s main landfill but were blocked by Greek riot police. The municipal workers’ union had agreed to allow garbage collection in Athens and other cities from certain places, such as schools and hospitals, but then tried to intervene when collectors began picking up from other areas. Police supervision helped ensure that the trucks entered the landfill without any serious problems, authorities said. Massive piles of garbage have been gathering on city streets across the country despite calls from authorities to respect public safety. «Whoever, for personal reasons places public health at risk is placing themselves against the community as a whole,» said Athens Mayor Nikitas Kaklamanis. The trash has been attracting a growing number of rats onto city streets, capable of transmitting various diseases such as gastroenteritis, according to authorities. A general strike on Wednesday by the country’s two largest private and public sector union groups, GSEE and ADEDY, is expected to bring the country to a halt. Bank workers have said they are striking today and tomorrow and will be joined by lawyers who will stay away from work for the whole week. Journalists, engineers, petrol station employees, doctors, pharmacists, bakers and teachers will also take part in Wednesday’s general strike. Power workers also said they would continue their strike and were expected to make an announcement late yesterday or this morning on upcoming protest action. Lawmakers are expected to begin debating the bill today and are expected on Thursday to vote on the reforms which include merging some 150 pension funds into just a handful.