The head of the striking taxi owners association (SATA), Thymios Lymberopoulos, on Friday requested a meeting between taxi owners and Prime Minister George Papandreou so that they could "clear up misunderstandings and go back to work"
He made the statement after a meeting with the leadership of GSEBEE, the Greek confederation of traders, workshop owners and freelance workers. GSEBEE President Dimitris Assimako-poulos afterward said the government's failure to uphold a previous agreement reached with taxi owners, which called for a transitional period leading up to full liberalisation of the taxi services sector, was a "grave political misstep".
Lymberopoulos repeated that taxi owners wanted the same regime that applied in Europe for taxis to also apply in Greece, where licences were issued on the basis "of rules, a framework and a time schedule".
Concerning the various protest actions by taxi owners throughout the country, such as blocking access to ports and airports or preventing use of major highways, he stressed that these were "spontaneous" and not centrally organised by SATA.
He called on the new Infrastructure, Transport and Networks Minister Yiannis Ragoussis to "adapt to European standards" and stressed that the current ratio of one taxi per 1,000 residents of Greece was the highest in the EU.
Assimakopoulos was strongly critical of the government's handling of the issue, accusing the government of behaving like an "Oriental bazaar" and of lacking a uniform voice, while backing the demands of taxi owners as just.
At the same time, he appealed to taxi owners to be careful in the chosen forms of protest so as not to inflict damage on other economic sectors and their own clients, stressing that "no struggle has been work without society as an ally".
Supreme Court prosecutor toughens stance toward striking taxi owners
Supreme Court Public Prosecutor Ioannis Tentes on Friday toughened his stance toward striking taxi owners and ordered police to immediately arrest and charge anyone obstructing means of transport and the movements of people using roads, airports and seaports in Greece, taking them before a police court to be tried.
The prosecutor noted that existing laws concerning the disruption of transport gave authorities the power to do this, without any express instructions or permission from a prosecutor. This is step up from the prosecutor's earlier instructions to prosecutors, calling on them to remove the licence plates of taxis used to blockade airports or seaports and for their owners to be indicted using fast-track judicial proceedings.