New round of strikes, protests

As the country’s lawyers walk off the job today in the first of a series of strikes to protest the government’s austerity measures, members of civil servants’ union ADEDY are to hold a rally in central Athens this afternoon to express their opposition to wage and benefit cuts in their sector. Lawyers will not be working today, tomorrow and Friday to express their discontent at an increase in value-added tax on their services. They also criticize the government for failing to address underlying problems in the legal sector, including a huge backlog of cases, noting that their working conditions are «tragic.» They are not the only ones who will be striking this week. An increasing number of state hospital doctors are set to join action that has led to dozens of hospitals across the country operating with only emergency staff. Employees of post offices, the national railway network and the Hellenic Telecommunications Organization are to stage a three-hour work stoppage from noon in protest at feared reductions of their pensions. Meanwhile the civil servants’ union, though not joining today’s strike action, has called on members to join a protest rally in central Athens at 6 p.m. today. The rally comes exactly a week after the previous civil servants’ march in the capital which was marred by isolated outbreaks of violence. ADEDY claims the government’s cuts of holiday pay and benefits in the public sector are «unfair and one-sided.» The union, which has staged three 24-hour strikes over the past month, is planning further strike action next month.

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