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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 05-06-08

The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <>


  • [01] Head-On Collision
  • [02] Greeks Are All Work and No Play
  • [03] Close to Africa Deal
  • [04] Car Bomb Explosion
  • [05] Mesa Urges Early Elections
  • [06] Erdogan at the White House

  • [01] Unions and Government Go to War Head-On Collision

    08 Jun 2005 09:50:00

    By Athina Saloustrou

    The mobilisations for labour and social security issues are escalating, since the unions are joining fronts against the reforms and are declaring determined to proceed with new protests. In the meantime, the banking employees, who have been on strike for the last two days, have called a new 48-hour strike for Thursday and Friday. According to their estimates, between 70-80% of the employees in the sector participated in Tuesdays strike. GSEE (Greek General Confederation of Labour) has called a meeting with DEKO (public enterprises and corporations) Federations to coordinate their actions, while both GSEE and ADEDY (Supreme Administration of Greek Civil Servants Trade Unions) are threatening with strikes. Meanwhile, OTOE (Greek Federation of Bank Employee Unions) is reacting to the Governments decision to proceed with legislative reforms on the matter of banking employees social security, as they are demanding a private law unified fund for all banking employees without exceptions. At the same time, the Confederation is organising a nationwide referendum for labour and social security issues on 13 July. Workers, the unemployed and pensioners will be called to answer Yes or No to the changes proposed by the Government. However, DAKE (Democratic Independent Workers Movement) opposed such a referendum, claiming that the credibility of the results could not secured, while DAKE president Kostas Poupakis accused PASKE (PASOK-affiliated labour organisation) of petty party games. Furthermore, following negotiations with the administration of Greek Oil, employees are expected to decide today on whether they will be proceeding with a 10-day strike in 3 of the countrys oil distilleries as of 10 June.

    "Sore Point"

    During yesterdays Steering Committee meeting, GSEE president Christos Polyzogopoulos described the OTE agreement as "a sore point for Greek unions," while he underlined that it is not a matter of reforms, but of "huge financial and social cost for workers and society as a whole." He further added that this agreement disintegrates the interests of workers, and deregulates and marginalizes trade unions, therefore the unions should not consider it as an option.

    Mr Polyzogopoulos also launched accusations against the Government, which, as he set, achieved its target of buying out a deal to attack labour relations. He further predicted that the Government would proceed with abolishing the 8-hour working day by mid-summer and intervening in overtime agreements, in order to satisfy SEV (Federation of Greek Industries)

    Referring to the banking employees social security, Mr Polyzogopoulos asked the various bodies to secure the interests of banking employees, while he called on the unions to side with him. He also urged IKA not to accept the added social security costs, as they might bring the organisation down, while he warned that if the autonomy of subsidiary funds is threatened, then GSEE would appeal to the EU courts and the International Labour Organisation.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    Related News:

    Strikes are Escalating

    Reforms for Society

    [02] The Japanese of Europe! Greeks Are All Work and No Play

    08 Jun 2005 11:48:00

    By Despina Hristopoulou

    Sources: NET

    In the good old days, the Greeks were considered the most unenergetic workers in Europe, as opposed to the Germans, who were burning the midnight oil. However, latest research comes to dispel the myth of the Greeks who prefer pleasure to work, ranking them as the hardest working Europeans. Actually, as per the European Work Organisation survey, the 8-hour working day is wishful thinking for 3 out every 10 Greeks, since they work over 48 hours per week, which equates to 9.6 hours per day. Apart from being a pain, overtime also disrupts the family and social life of workers.

    Too Much Work, Too Much Stress

    The working day usually begins at 9am, but if workers have children, the day starts much earlier. Especially for mothers employed in the private sector, which usually demands that employees remain at their posts for about 10 hours per day, the 24 hours in a day are not enough. Actually, as per female employees, the demands of private companies go beyond the realm of logic, since sometimes they are even forced to sign declarations stating that they will not get pregnant.

    However, the extended working hours do not just harm the social life of employees, but also their health, since work-related stress is often carried on to their personal lives. As a matter of fact, 4 out of every 10 Greeks, ie 36%, face problems in their relations with family and friends because of this stress. The Greeks are followed by the French with 25%, the Portuguese with 15% and the Dutch with 9%, with the EU average is at 20%.

    However, the big losers are the children, who spent very little time with their parents, while their future career is not looking rosy either.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    [03] For Debt Relief Close to Africa Deal

    08 Jun 2005 07:33:00

    By Betty Savourdou

    Sources: ÁNA - BBC

    The US President and the British PM declared that they are close to reaching an agreement on providing debt relief for the poorest countries of the African continent. During a joint Press conference, which followed their meeting in the White House on Tuesday, Tony Blair mentioned that he hoped for an agreement among the worlds rich nations (G8) at a leaders summit in July, in Gleneagles, Scotland. Specifically, both men proposed to write off 100% of the debts of 32 countries provided they fight corruption and enact economic reforms.

    Disagreement on Actions against Climate Changes

    Furthermore, their final plan provides for the economic reform of international debt institutions, including the World Bank.

    On his part, President Bush pledged $674 million to ease famine in Ethiopia, Eritrea and other countries.

    According to sources, Blair failed to enlist Bushs support on a proposal to give Africa as much as $50 billion a year by making long-term aid commitments that would allow poor countries to raise money on global capital markets.

    Blair also got no concession from Bush on his campaign against climate changes, which the British PM holds high on his agenda for the G8 Summit.

    Actually, Tony Blair said that they share differing views with President Bush on the matter, but he hoped they would work together on the specific issue in the coming weeks.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    [04] Car Bomb Explosion

    08 Jun 2005 12:44:00

    By Betty Savourdou

    Sources: ANA

    A car bomb exploded on Tuesday next to a line of cars outside a petrol station in Bakuba, Iraq, killing three Iraqi civilians and wounding one, as per police. An eyewitness reported that a man parked the car near the lines of cars outside the petrol station, and disappeared. The car exploded a few minutes later.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    [05] To End the Political Crisis Mesa Urges Early Elections

    08 Jun 2005 08:57:00

    By Betty Savourdou

    Sources: ANA

    On Tuesday, Bolivian President Carlos Mesa urged for early elections in order to curb the escalation of the political crisis and the outbreak of violence. Mesa appealed to the Congress president and lower parliament chamber chief to allow early elections to halt the protests and mobilisations that have blockaded La Paz and other cities. It should be noted that Mesa has already handed in his resignation in an effort to end the crisis that has erupted in the country.

    Multinational Companies Should Leave

    "The country cannot continue playing with the possibility of splitting into a thousand pieces. [...] The only solution for Bolivia is an immediate electoral process." Carlos Mesa

    The protests by miners, villagers, the indigenous population and nearly every other social group have triggered a new crisis in Bolivia, just 19 months after Mesa took to office, succeeding the overthrown former president Gonzalo Sanchez de Losada.

    The Congress, which rejected Mesas resignation in March, will convene on Thursday in order to discuss whether it will be accepting this resignation by the President in just two months or not. Mesa will remain as President of the country, until the relevant decision is made.

    On Tuesday, protesters, many of whom lobbed sticks of dynamite and rocks, clashed with the police, which fired tear gas.

    The profits from Bolivias hydrocarbons, since the country has large deposits of natural gas that are exploited by multinational companies, are at the focus of the political crisis.

    The protesters mainly call for the nationalisation of the countrys resources, while the multinationals are threatening to withdraw if such a thing does happen.

    In the richer provinces, the white minority is asking for greater autonomy and the opportunity to administrate the profits from natural gas.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    Related News:

    Bolivian President Resigns

    [06] Issue with Cyprus on the Agenda Erdogan at the White House

    08 Jun 2005 08:09:00

    By Betty Savourdou

    Sources: ANA

    US President George Bush will meet with Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday in the White House. The two men are expected to include the issue with Cyprus on their agenda. During the meeting between US State Secretary Condoleezza Rice and her Turkish counterpart Abdullah Gul on Tuesday at the State Department, the two ministers discussed the situation with PKK, Iraq and Cyprus. Upon departing, Abdullah Gul noted that Turkey has expectations on the matter with Cyprus. In the meantime, State Department spokesperson Sean McCormack stressed that the US delegation which visited the northern part of Cyprus recently, via Tibou airport, has the responsibility for its actions.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    Related News:

    Cyprus Angered at America

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