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    Contract Workers Protest in Athens


    by NTDTelevision

    Greek contract workers march in Athens to protest at the government's decision not to renew their contracts.

    The 1,500 protesters chanted anti-government slogans as they passed the Interior Ministry on their way towards Parliament.

    Under its economic reform program to reduce the country's debt, the government is putting a freeze on hiring in the public sector, resulting in thousands not having their contracts renewed.

    Earlier in the day the workers closed the road outside Greece's high court with their demonstration.

    The Athens Supreme Court was hearing an appeal on whether fixed term contract workers who have been working on a regular basis should be recognized as permanent staff.

    The protesters, including firemen, ministry and municipal employees, archaeologists and refuse collectors want their contracts recognized as permanent.

    [Dania Papachristou, Contract Worker]:
    "We have been working for three, four, five years without insurance, with a wage of 500 euros, and a regular civil servant's work shift of seven to three each day, but they don't recognize this."

    Protests have been taking place across Greece for months since the government introduced an economic austerity program that will cut wages, jobs and pension benefits.

    Athens has had to cut spending under the conditions of a billion euro economic rescue package from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund.