Prime minister George Papandreou on Wednesday appealed to striking taxi owners to enter into dialogue with the government, so that the announced deregulation of the profession may proceed.
Papandreou said that the deregulation of all professions will be effected with rules, but also dialogues.
Particularly with respect to taxi owners, the premier said that his government will listen to every proposal made, in the context of the dialogue, which he said would be speedy, aiming at the upgrading of services in that specific sector.
Papandreou also called on taxi owners to take into account the repercussions their mobilisations have on many other sectors, while he accused opposition cadres of inciting the mobilisations, wagering on disaster.
Striking taxi owners seek meeting with PM
Striking taxi owners on Wednesday called for a meeting with prime minister George Papandreou in order to set out their demands and positions regarding the government's announced deregulation of the sector.
The call came just hours after Papandreou appealed to the owners for dialogue with the government, urging them to consider the repercussions of their ongoing strike, currently in its second week, on other sectors of the economy.
Attica taxi owners' federation SATA president Thymios Lymberopoulos opined that the premier's statement earlier in the day was "in our direction" and the federation therefore sent a fax to the prime minister's office seeking a meeting with him.
Lymberopoulos reiterated that the strike action is continuing, adding that the federation has turned to lawyers to look into the issue and file lawsuits against the transports ministry leadership in the event that minister Yiannis Ragoussis' proposals are adopted. He noted that such action had been taken in Ireland, and the taxi owners were vindicated.
The ministry, in turn, reiterated that the liberalisation of the sector will be implemented, and that its proposals will soon be made public.
The ministry called on taxi owners to call off their ongoing strike and enter into dialogue, but warned that it will not bow down to "guilds".
ND blames PM, infrastructures minister for taxi sector deregulation reactions
The main opposition New Democracy (ND) party on Wednesday blamed Prime Minister George Papandreou and Infrastructure, Transport and Networks Minister Yiannis Ragoussis for the taxi sector deregulation reactions.
Referring to Ragoussis’s address in Tuesday’s meeting of the ruling PASOK party parliamentary group committee (KTE) that discussed the issue, ND spokesman Yiannis Mihelakis said that it was confirmed that the government “lacks coordination, continuity and consistency”.
Also, the main opposition party accused the premier of “distorting reality, insulting ND and acting as another Pontius Pilate” and called on him to assume its share of responsibility and take a stance on the taxi issue. ND called on the prime minister to abandon “the role of an observer who has no responsibility” and proceed with the liberalisation of the taxi sector “based on the rules already in effect in other European countries”.
Mihelakis called on the striking taxi owners to refrain from blocking access to airports, seaports or national motorways, stressing that they should display social sensitivity as opposed to the government’s ruthlessness.