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Athens News Agency: News in English, 06-10-17

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

CONTENTS

  • [01] Gov't, teachers' union talks again deadlock
  • [02] FM on situation in Mideast, western Balkans

  • [01] Gov't, teachers' union talks again deadlock

    The teachers' union on Tuesday vowed to continue a strike that has already entered its fifth week, after a meeting with Education Minister Marietta Yiannakou ended in deadlock. The two sides failed to reach a compromise in a dispute over pay issues and demands for increased spending on education. Emerging from the meeting, the head of the primary and kindergarten teachers' union (DOE), Dimitris Bratis, said Yiannakou failed to make any substantive counter-proposal to the union's demands. On her part, the minister spoke about a &quot;useful meeting conducted in good faith&quot; and stressed that the government respected and honoured both teachers and their valuable role in society. At the same time, she repeated that the Greek economy could not, at this stage, afford to pay out anything over the 105 benefit already promised to teachers by the government. Regarding the demands for higher spending on education, Yiannakou pledged a major recruitment drive for teachers in the immediate future and pointed out that some 3.3 billion would be drawn from 4th Community Support Framework funds for the education sector. The head of the OLME high-school teachers union, Dimitris Georgas, said the meeting did not have a positive outcome, despite taking place in a good climate, and that teachers had no choice but to continue their strike. Both the high-school and primary school teachers' unions will strike from Tuesday until Thursday this week, while a protest rally is scheduled for Wednesday. Joining striking teachers on Wednesday is the civil servants union ADEDY with a 24-hour strike. Among their demands is a rise in net base pay for newly-appointed teachers to 1,400 a month (from 950 at present), immediate payment in full of a monthly 105 benefit and a rise in spending on education to 5 percent of GDP. The government has so far ruled out meeting their demands and stressed that it is fulfilling its pre-election pledges to the extent that the economy and the budget allow. Its only concession has been an offer to pay the 105 benefit in incremental half-year instalments spread over three years, meaning that teachers will receive an immediate pay rise of just 17.5 as of January 1, 2007 and roughly two thirds of the sum the want over the three years.

    Caption: Striking teachers and supporters gathered outside the education ministry in downtown Athens on Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2006, while talks between the ministry's leadership and union officials continued inside. ANA-MPA photo / P. Saitas.

    [02] FM on situation in Mideast, western Balkans

    Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis represented Greece at the EU General Affairs and External Relations Council held here on Tuesday convened to discuss the situation in the Middle East and the western Balkans.

    In statements afterwards, Bakoyannis said Europe's foreign ministers had agreed to intensify efforts begun a month earlier to ensure the existence of a Palestinian government, so that the lengthy efforts for a peace process in the region might have some prospects.

    With respect to Serbia, she said Greece was aligned with most other Mediterranean countries in seeking a "way to approach Serbia in a more effective and 'European' manner". She stressed that messages to Serbia must be very clear so that there could be resumption of the process of rapprochement between Serbia and the EU.

    According to the Greek minister, the future status of Kosovo will be discussed by EU foreign ministers over dinner.

    She also announced that she was scheduled to meet the Council president, Finnish Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja, on Tuesday afternoon.

    Caption: An ANA-MPA file photo Bakoyannis.


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