Greek Unions Protest Labor Bill

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Outside parliament in Athens, union members strike for three hours in protest against labor legislation. If passed, the legislation will mean lower wages for people working in the private sector.

A protest outside parliament in Athens on Tuesday.

Members of the private and public sector unions gathered here after walking off the job for three hours.

Meanwhile, parliament prepares to vote on a controversial labor bill. The bill will change labor laws in the private sector, with lower wages being the consequence.

The three-hour walkout was called by the General Confederation of Greek Workers (GSEE). This is Greece’s main private sector workers’ union. They were joined by the Civil Servants’ Confederation of Greece (ADEDY).

[Panagiotis Doukas, City Buses Unionist Representative]:
"This bill is a catapult to the Greek workers, it demolishes working rights that existed from 1930, it reduces for a second year in a row the salaries up to 25 percent and Greek workers once again are called to pay the bill without being responsible.”

[Yiannis Vasalos, Subway Metro Worker]:
"Our endurance and patience have a limit and this is something that the prime minister should take in consideration. We have elections again in 2013 and we will send him home.”

President of the trolley drivers’ union, Kostas Nikolakopoulos said that the new bill will worsen workers’ standard of living.

The workers' walkout was only in Athens and did not shut down or seriously impact offices or services.

Public transport workers joined a 24-hour strike that stopped public transport, but only in the capital.

Protests will peak on Wednesday, when a nationwide 24-hour strike will take place. The strike will involve air traffic controllers, rubbish collectors, journalists, doctors, lawyers and civil servants.

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