The Central Macedonia Region authority was picketed on Wednesday by the owners of private coaches used to transport children from villages to schools in Thessaloniki. The coach drivers are protesting because they have not been paid for their services for the previous year, while the regional authority has signed no contracts with them for the current year.

Protesting alongside the coach owners and drivers, who had cordoned off the building using 100 coaches, were parents whose children were unable to go to school after unpaid coach owners discontinued the service starting on Wednesday.

The coach owners demanded that the finance ministry intervene to iron out procedural issues that were delaying payment for 2010 and also legislative measures from the interior and education ministries.

The problem that has arisen affects some 7,000 school children in the Thessaloniki prefecture and a further 4,000 children in Halkidiki.