Tuesday Jan 22, 201302:47 PM GMT
Greek metro workers defy court order to return to work
A young man climbs the stairs of a closed metro station in Athens on January 21, 2013.
A young man climbs the stairs of a closed metro station in Athens on January 21, 2013.
Tue Jan 22, 2013 2:47PM
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We cannot live on what we earn." Metro Workers' Union Head Antonis Stamatopoulos

Greek metro workers have defied a court order to return to work and have staged the sixth day of strikes over the government’s spending cuts.


Athens was without a metro service on Tuesday for four to five hours, which comes in continuation to the protest started on Thursday over the planned cuts to metro workers’ salaries.

A Greek court ruled against Athens Metro Workers' Union’s planned strikes and permitted the government to use force to make personnel return to work.

Union officials call on the government to abolish the planned changes to the public sector’s pay scales, which comes as Athens implements measures to satisfy its eurozone creditors.

Reductions in public sector workers’ incomes have made it harder for Greeks to make ends meet.

"With these latest cuts, someone like me who earned 1,300 euros per month will end up clearing something like 700 euros," Metro Workers' Union Head Antonis Stamatopoulos said.

“We cannot live on what we earn," he added.

Stamatopoulos said that apart from stopping the changes to the pay cuts, the only way the government could make them return to work would be through force.

"Civil mobilization? They can enforce it if they want. Maybe they should come here with tanks to force us back to work," Stamatopoulos said.

Parliament introduced new austerity measures in December 2012, which eurozone finance ministers approved for bailout packages of 9.2 billion euros on Monday and 34.3 billion euros last month.

Europe plunged into financial crisis in early 2008. The worsening debt crisis has forced the EU governments to adopt harsh austerity measures and tough economic reforms, which have triggered massive protests in many European countries.

GVN/JR
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