Kiosk strike over profits

Buying a pack of cigarettes or picking up a copy of your favorite newspaper is going to be a challenge over the next three days, as kiosk owners have decided to stage a strike, starting today and continuing over the weekend. The Federation of Kiosk Owners (OPKE) decided on the action in an effort to force the government to guarantee a profit of 8.2 percent on the sale of tobacco products. Due to a series of tax rises since February, a packet of cigarettes costs 3.80 euros, of which 3.21 euros (84.5 percent) is tax, 36 cents goes to the tobacco company, 13 cents (just over 4 percent) to the kiosk and 10 cents to the wholesaler. Kiosk owners say they are being forced out of business. «At least 1,500 kiosks have closed this year and half of those left are expected to shut by the end of the year,» said Costas Kogias, president of OPKE. The kiosk owners are due to protest in front of the Finance Ministry at 11.30 a.m. today. About 40 of them are threatening to go on hunger strike.

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