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Minister invites striking public transport employees to dialogue

Δημοσίευση 14 Ιανουαρίου 2011, 10:43 / Ανανεώθηκε 27 Ιουνίου 2013, 14:55
Minister invites striking public transport employees to dialogue
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Infrastructure, Transport and Networks minister Dimitris Reppas on Thursday invited public transport employees and the mass transit companies to dialogue aimed at contributing the upgrading of urban transport.

Infrastructure, Transport and Networks minister Dimitris Reppas on Thursday invited public transport employees and the mass transit companies to dialogue aimed at contributing the upgrading of urban transport.

The call comes amid heightened industrial action and a 24-hour strike Thursday by urban transport employees over a bill unveiled the previous day on restructuring the mass transit system. Public deliberation on the bill opened on Thursday.

Reppas said that the government is taking "the necessary and useful initiative" for reform of urban transport "that will lead to modern and qualitative transport services that improve the everday lives of the citizen", but stressed that "this process requires everyone's cooperation".

The minister further reiterated that the government "supports the public nature of the commuter companies" and "safeguards the right to work of all the working people".

"The goal is a common one, as is also the responsibility," Reppas added.

Government invites striking transport workers to begin dialogue

Government spokesman George Petalotis on Thursday criticised striking public transport workers for continuing a strike declared illegal by the courts, urging them to respond to the transport ministry's invitation to begin dialogue "so that we have the best possible bill at the end".

"Apart from the rights that we have as workers and which we defend there is also the law. And when there is a court ruling that judges a strike illegal and abusive we must uphold this," he stressed.

Petalotis urged all sides to realise the importance of having public transport that benefited Greek citizens and to eliminate deficits through a completely different, revamped and rationalised approach to transport needs.

Asked whether the government would resort to laws allowing civil mobilisation and even dismissal of strikers, Petalotis said that this would be an extreme resort that the government was loathe to use, while adding that "the laws exist and apply to everyone".

"Before we get to these measures, we call on workers to come to dialogue and stop strikes, especially when these harm middle and lower strata of our society," he said, noting that one union in the public transport sector had already indicated a willingness to participate in dialogue.

The ISAP electric railway was the only public transport operating in Athens on Thursday, when buses, tram, trolleys and metro held a 24-hour strike in protest against planned reforms to the public transport sector and threatened staff transfers.