General strike called for May 5

The civil servants’ union ADEDY and the General Confederation of Greek Labor (GSEE), yesterday called a general strike for May 5 to protest the government’s austerity measures as well as increasing pressure from the European Union and International Monetary Fund for additional cuts. The head of GSEE, Yiannis Panagopoulos, said the strike action was a protest at the government’s plans to raise the minimum retirement age by several years and against the possibility of salary cuts being introduced to the private sector. «The 13th and 14th salaries in the private sector are non-negotiable,» Panagopoulos said, referring to the two additional wages received by employees at Christmas and Easter. ADEDY’s president, Spyros Papaspyros, whose union organized a protest rally in central Athens yesterday, said civil servants will continue to oppose the cuts in holiday pay and benefits introduced in March. ADEDY’s aim, Papaspyros said, is «the revocation of these measures that harm the people.» In a related development, teachers’ unions called on their members to stage strike action next week to protest a raft of proposed reforms ranging from changes to the way that teachers are hired to the abolition of a law setting a minimal grade for university entrance. The Primary School Teachers’ Federation (DOE) said it would stage daily four-hour work stoppages from today through May 3 before launching a 48-hour strike on May 4 and 5. The Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OLME), which is calling for full-time jobs to be granted to substitute teachers and their unemployed counterparts, called on its members to join a 24-hour strike on May 4.

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