NEWS

In Brief

New strike

Unions call walkout for July 8 to protest reforms The country’s two main unions, the civil servants’ union ADEDY and the General Confederation of Greek Labor (GSEE), yesterday called a new general strike for next Thursday, July 8, in protest at deeply unpopular reforms to the country’s creaking pension system and changes to labor relations. The unions, which together represent around 3 million workers, complain that the planned reforms – which Greece is obliged to push through as part of an austerity drive imposed by its international creditors – will demolish long-established labor rights. Buses return Gov’t settles on back pay Athens blue buses resumed operation early yesterday afternoon after the Transport Ministry settled outstanding wages owed to drivers. Earlier in the day, bus drivers had staged a walkout, demanding to be paid. According to sources, the protesters agreed to return to work after hearing that the General Accounting Office had deposited 20 million euros in the country’s central bank for the payments to be made. Road fatalities The number of fatalities on Greek roads dropped by 18.5 percent in the first six months of this year compared to the same period last year, the Citizens’ Protection Ministry said yesterday. Deputy Minister Spyros Vougias attributed the improvement to increased traffic police patrols. Vougias noted that deaths remained high in urban areas and said his ministry was planning joint initiatives with local authorities to curb fatalities in cities too. Corinth truce Members of the Panhellenic Seamen’s Federation (PNO) yesterday said they would suspend their blockade of two cargo ships at Corinth which began nearly a month ago, pending a legal ruling on their action. PNO has been demanding that the two Italian vessels, Ropax 1 and Ropax 2, employ more than 50 Greek seamen to justify their frequent use of the port. Deadly plunge A 12-year-old girl and a 9-month-old boy died yesterday when the car in which they had been traveling veered off the coastal road between Halkida and Aliveri and plunged into the sea. A 26-year-old woman who had been driving the car and two passengers – a 28-year-old man and a 14-year-old girl – emerged from the wreck unscathed. It was unclear what the relationship of the children was to the other people in the vehicle. Violent robbery A policeman was injured yesterday in a shootout with robbers who had been fleeing after a raid on a bank in the small town of Farsala, near Karditsa in central Greece. The officer was in a patrol car being driven by a colleague when he spotted the pair emerging from the bank branch. The officers gave chase, firing warning shots at the getaway car. One of them was injured when one of the robbers shot back at the patrol car.