Greece’s Public-Sector Union Holds Strike to Support Teachers

Greece’s biggest public-sector union held a 24-hour strike and a rally in central Athens today to oppose an emergency decree issued by the government to prevent a walkout by the country’s high-school teachers.

Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras signed the decree on May 11 to prevent the walkout by teachers, the third time this year he has used the emergency legislation. The move came after the teachers union, known as OLME, called a series of strikes to coincide with university entrance exams in Greek schools.

ADEDY, the umbrella group for all state employees, said it opposes the government’s “policy of absolute domination over teachers”, according to an e-mailed statement from the Athens-based union.

The teachers planned a 24-hour strike on May 17 and a five-day strike starting from May 20, in the middle of the exam period. The union is opposed to government plans to cut jobs in the education sector, according to a statement posted on OLME’s website on May 10, part of the conditions attached to the country receiving further payments under the 240 billion euros of funds granted by the euro area and International Monetary Fund.

Greece’s government agreed April 15 to dismiss 15,000 state workers by the end of next year. Identifying redundant positions and mandatory exits for about 150,000 civil servants by 2015 was a so-called milestone for the country to receive further payments.

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