Unions hold 24-hour general strike

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The Greek General Confederation of Labour (GSEE) called a 24-hour nationwide general strike on 7 December 2000. The well-supported strike was aimed at influencing parliamentary debate on the government's controversial draft bill on measures to promote employment, which will have implications in areas such as dismissals and working time.

On 27 November 2000, the executive committee of the Greek General Confederation of Labour (GSEE) decided to hold a 24-hour nationwide general strike on 7 December. The aim was to maximise trade union pressure during parliamentary discussion of the Ministry of Labour's draft bill on "provisions regarding employment and other provisions", which has controversial industrial relations implications (GR0007178F). The unions want to ensure that:

  • there is no change in the institutional framework regarding dismissals;
  • legal and contractual working time is reduced, the final objective being a 35-hour working week, without working time flexibility; and
  • workers should be eligible to retire after a period of social insurance of 35 years or 10,500 insurance stamps, regardless of their age. Insurance funds' additional costs for retirement in onerous and unhealthy occupations should be covered through the Account for Employment and Vocational Training (LAEK).

The general strike was called throughout the private and broader public sectors. Workers responded to the strike call in services (offices), commerce, large- and small-scale industry, construction, telecommunications, banks, post offices, the Water Supply and Sewerage Systems Company of Athens (EYDAP) and other public utilities. Also on strike were workers in transport and communications - the Athens Public Transport Organisation (OASA), Athens-Piraeus Area Electric Buses (ILPAP), Athens-Piraeus Electric Railways (ISAP) and the Athens Metro. Olympic Airways workers held a 24-hour strike, with emergency staff carrying out only one flight per destination. Hellenic Railways Organisation trains did not run, and there no coastal ships or ferries sailed. Others participating in the strike included journalists and other workers in the media (radio, television, newspapers, magazines, news agencies and internet) and the press offices of public entities, local government bodies and public and private enterprises, with a five-hour nationwide stoppage called by the Panhellenic Federation of Journalists' Associations and the Athens Daily Periodical Press Technicians' Association.

The strike on 7 December 2000 was a continuation of a 24-hour nationwide general strike held on 10 October in protest at the government's proposals on employment policies and combating unemployment, before they were converted into a draft bill. The October strike was the biggest for seven years, and received expressions of solidarity from many national and international trade union organisations, including the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC), Union Network International (UNI), UNI Europa, the Belgian FGTB/ABVV, the French CGT and CGT-FO, the German DGB, the Italian Cisl and the Spanish CC.OO and UGT.

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