Strikes to cause more disruption

Services at more than half the hospitals in the country face severe disruption today due to work stoppages by doctors protesting the nonpayment of remuneration for additional duty hours. The problems began yesterday at the Aglaia Kyriakou Children’s Hospital in Athens and looked set to continue today at several other hospitals in the capital. By the end of the week, doctors at all hospitals in Attica are expected to have joined the protest action, which means only emergency cases will be treated. The disruption will likely spread to hospitals in the provinces too after doctors decided to implement – as of this month – a European Union directive stipulating that they should work additional duty hours no more than four times a month. Public sector doctors are also protesting a reduction in budget spending on healthcare and pay cuts recently approved by the government as part of a package of austerity measures. Doctors are not the only civil servants protesting this week. Yesterday hundreds of Public Power Corporation workers occupied the main offices of the Manpower Organization in Alimos, southeastern Athens, to protest a freeze on scheduled hirings at PPC as well as bonus and holiday pay reductions. The workers, who have accused the government of «unfair, disastrous and absurd policies,» are to launch a 48-hour strike this morning which – they had originally said – might lead to power cuts. In a related development, even before today’s protest rally by the civil servants’ union, ADEDY yesterday called another protest rally for next Tuesday and warned of fresh strike action on a date to be set soon.

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