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Athens News Agency: News in English, 07-12-13

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] PM Karamanlis in Lisbon for signing of EU Reform Treaty, then on to Brussels and Moscow
  • [02] PASOK leader to launch initiative on OA issue
  • [03] Nationwide labour strike held on Wednesday

  • [01] PM Karamanlis in Lisbon for signing of EU Reform Treaty, then on to Brussels and Moscow

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis was in Lisbon on Thursday for the official signing ceremony of the EU's Reform Treaty.

    On Thursday afternoon, Karamanlis will travel to Brussels for the European Union's Summit on Thursday and Friday, while on Thursday evening he will also attend a working dinner of the European People's Party (PPE), the European Parliament grouping to which the ruling New Democracy (ND) party belongs.

    On Friday morning, Karamanlis will meet with European Parliament president Hans-Gert Petering.

    On Monday, Karamanlis will begin an official three-day visit to Russia, at the invitation of Russian President Vladimir Putin, during which a wide range of bilateral issues will be discussed, with special focus on the energy sector, as well as international issues of mutual interest.

    [02] PASOK leader to launch initiative on OA issue

    Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou intends to launch an initiative for national agreement on the issue of ailing national carrier Olympic Airways (OA), as well as a similar move in parliament.

    Papandreou outlined his intended initiative during a meeting on Thursday with a delegation of the Federation of Civil Aviation Employee Associations (OSPA) at the PASOK headquarters in central Athens, OSPA president Manolis Patestos told reporters after the meeting.

    Patestos said that the OA employees will continue their struggles to keep OA flying, while they also planned to stage a series of "happenings" at Athens' Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport (AIA) in order to thank the thousands of passengers for their confidence in OA.

    Asked whether the OA employees had found an "ally" in Papandreou, Patestos said that this remained to be confirmed by the PASOK leader's public statements.

    Papandreou visited the Public Power Corporation (PPC) headquarters afterwards.

    [03] Nationwide labour strike held on Wednesday

    Wednesday's nationwide labour strike, staged by the General Confederation of Workers of Greece (GSEE) and the Civil Servants' Supreme Administrative Council (ADEDY), the country's two major umbrella union organisations against government-proposed reforms of the social security system, and the mass rally in Athens with a march to parliament, had a large turnout, organisers said on Thursday.

    The mobilisations, which mainly affected the public sector and transports, were also joined by laywers, doctors, engineers, journalists and media workers, who in addition object to the government's plan to merge deficient state social security and pension funds with the more robust funds into seven main funds.

    GSEE president Yannis Panagopoulos, addressing the main rally at the Pedion tou Areos Park in central Athens, said that all of Greece was taking part in the strike, adding that the mobilisations were not instigated by political parties and factions, but by the government's policy itself.

    He also expressed the working people's support for their colleagues in the ailing national carrier Olympic Airways (OA), stressing that "we are at the side of the OA employees so that the national carrier will continue to provide safe services to the Greek citizens".

    On the social security issue, Panagopoulos said that "we are here to safeguard social security, just as we did in the period 1990-93, and as we did in 2001. Without second thoughts, without ulterior motives or wavering, we are taking the front line in the fight for social security".

    The GSEE leader accused the government of opting for "monologue instead of dialogue", adding that "we (the unions) did not reject dialogue" but, rather, "the government chose monologue instead of dialogue with a well-rigged, promotional operation aimed at deception and distortion".

    In a similar address, ADEDY president Spyros Papaspyrou called on the working people to be vigilant, stressing that the government will not be allowed to implement its "anti-popular" policy.

    GSEE secretary general Costas Poupakis said that the working people demanded a viable solution on the OA issue, and resolution of the social security issue, so as to have a public, socially just and long-term system for the present-day working people but also for the new generation.

    The rally was also addressed by Athens Journalists' Union (ESIEA) president Panos Sobolos, who said that "the government's plans for the funds must not come to pass", as well as a representative of the OA employees' union.

    Also attending the rally were a main opposition PASOK party delegation headed by its National Council's president Nikos Athanassakis, a delegation of the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) headed by its leader Alekos Alavanos, high-ranking members of the Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) party, and of the Athens prefectural authority headed by prefect Yannis Sgouros.

    After the addresses at the rally, demonstrators, led by protesting lawyers followd by OA employees, marched to parliament, where a resolution containint the strikers' demands was handed to parliament president Dimitris Sioufas.

    Minor scuffles broke out during the march between police and a group of anti-establishmentarianists, who threw rocks at shop windows, breaking them, and set fire to trash bins, while police made limited use of teargas to disperse them.

    Strikers also sybmolically covered up traffic surveillance camteras.

    The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) affiliated PAME trade union organisation organised its own, separate, protest rally and march on Wednesday, gathering at National Resistance (Kotzia) Square in downtown Athens and marching to parliament, in demand of obligatory social security for everyone, retirement at 55 years of age for women and 60 for men, as well as at 50 for women and 55 for men in the 'heavy and hazardous' work categories, retirement regardless of age upon completion of 30 years of work or 9,000 working days, a 1,400 euros minimum salary, a 1,120 euros minimum pension, legalisation of immigrants, and the right to transfer accrued social security rights from their country of origin.

    Caption: View of the nationwide labour strike on 12 December 2007 in Athens.ANA-MPA/PANTELIS SAITAS

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