[MGSA-L] Athens University staff strike could be losing steam

June Samaras june.samaras at gmail.com
Thu Dec 5 17:16:32 PST 2013


Athens University staff strike could be losing steam

  Students who oppose the ongoing strike by university workers hold a
banner reading ‘Open schools: Here and now’ in central Athens on Thursday.
At the same time, a separate group of students held a rally across
Panepistimiou Street expressing solidarity with the striking staffers.
While a deadlock between striking administrative staff at Athens University
and Education Minister Constantinos Arvanitopoulos appeared no closer to a
resolution on Thursday, the position of the strikers is expected to be
weakened by a decision by their colleagues at the National Technical
University of Athens (NTUA) to resume classes as usual on Monday.

Administrative staff at Athens University and the NTUA have been on strike
for 13 weeks in protest at government plans to place them in a civil
service mobility scheme that will see them receiving 75 percent of their
regular pay for a period of eight months while they undergo an evaluation
that will determine whether they will be transferred or fired.

Staff at Athens University on Thursday said that they will continue the
strike, certainly through Monday, when they will meet again to decide on
possible further action. The staff rejected a proposal by Arvanitopoulos to
keep some of them in the same job on reduced wages, therefore increasing
their chances of being rehired after the end of the eight-month evaluation

Sources within the union representing the Athens University staff suggested
that there were rifts within their ranks in regard to the Education
Ministry’s proposal, leading the government to believe that the protest
action is running out of steam, especially as staff at the NTUA have
accepted the deal.

However, Arvanitopoulos on Thursday met with Prime Minister Antonis Samaras
and Deputy Prime Minister Evangelos Venizelos in a bid to confirm their
support. Sources also suggested that they agreed not to consider issuing a
civil mobilization order to force the staff back to work, as it would be an
excessive political risk to take for just one university.

Meanwhile, relations between the ministry and Athens University are
expected to become even testier next week as rector Theodosis Pelegrinis is
due to defend himself on Monday before a disciplinary committee over
charges of dereliction of duty brought against him by Arvanitopoulos.

Pelegrinis has consistently backed the striking workers and recently sued
the university’s council for slander after it suggested that he was to
blame for the recalcitrant stance of the protesting staff.

ekathimerini.com , Thursday December 5, 2013 (22:06)
June Samaras
2020 Old Station Rd
Canada L5M 2V1
Tel : 905-542-1877
E-mail : june.samaras at gmail.com
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