- CNTV English - CCTV News

Greeks protest over public transport sector reform bill ahead of parliament vote

02-16-2011 08:46 BJT

ATHENS, Feb. 15 (Xinhua)-- Greek parliament is expected to ratify by early Wednesday a wide public transport sector reform draft bill amidst a continuous wave of protests and strikes by labor unions.

Greek demonstrators hold a protest in front of the parliament building in
Athens, Greece, on Feb. 15, 2011. Employees of the public transport services
held a 24-hour strike over a draft bill on the restructure of the sector due
to be ratified by the parliament. (Xinhua/Marios Lolos)

Public transport came to a halt in Athens on Tuesday once again due to a 24-hour strike over the controversial new law which envisages a partial privatization of the debt-ridden Greek Railways, the restructure of the sector and transfers of employees to other public companies to save costs.

The Greek government promoted the reform as essential in the context of a series of austerity and development measures to face the debt crisis which led Greece to the brink of bankruptcy last year.

On the other hand, labor unions of mass transport employees who have staged a long string of strikes and protests since last autumn, argue that the bill will eventually lead to poor services for Greek citizens and worse working conditions for employees. They warn that they will continue mobilizations despite the approval of the draft bill.

Hundreds of strikers marched in front of the Greek parliament building on Tuesday afternoon on foot and on motorbikes, chanting slogans such as "thieves get out" and "Greece is not for sale".

It was a reference to the recent suggestion of the European Union and the International Monetary Fund auditors who monitor Greek efforts to overcome the crisis, that the Greek government should speed up a privatization program of state enterprises and real estate properties to slash the Greek debt.

The idea and the "tone" of foreign inspectors have caused strong reactions in Athens.

"Greek land is not for sale. We examine the better exploitation of state assets for development and debt repayment, but the terms 'exploitation' and 'sale" should not be confused," said on Tuesday Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou.

He stressed that his government will seek legislative regulation which will block the sale of public land.

Hot Videos view more

The celebrations are still continuing as the victorious coach, Joachim Loew, has been honored for his achievement in his hometown of Freiburg.
Germany coach Loew honored in hometown of Freiburg

Chinese men´s national team continued its preparations for next year´s Asian Cup, as they managed a one-all draw against visitors Jordan during a football friendly in Harbin, the capital city of Northeast China´s Heilongjiang Province.
China held to 1-1 draw by Jordan

The defending world champs came into the contest with a perfect 6-and-oh record, but they would be in for a tough first half before opening things up in the second.
USA beat Slovenia 119-76 in quarter-finals

Hot Stories more

UK authorities believe killer of James Foley is a British national

Across the UK the hunt is on for James Foley’s killer, who authorities believe is a British national. As Richard Bestic reports from London, Prime Minister David Cameron cut short his summer break to lead his government’s response.

Israeli war jets renews Gaza strike as truce talks stalled

Three Palestinians were killed and 40 others wounded in the intensive Israeli war jets´ airstrikes on the Gaza city on Tuesday night, shortly before an end of a 24-hour ceasefire in the Gaza Strip,

Missouri police arrest dozens after violent night

As the protests in the town of Ferguson, Missouri turned violent with police facing ´heavy gunfire´ from some ´criminal elements´, cops fired tear gas, stun grenades and arrested 31 demonstrators on Monday night.

Picture in news more

More Video News

Choose TV Program