The confrontation continues between the government and taxi owners who decided on Wednesday to extend their strike action, already in its third week, protesting against the deregulation of their sector. The decision to continue their mobilizations was reached in a meeting of their union representatives, despite the voices that called for an end to the strike.
According to the taxi owners’ representatives, their decision was based on the fact that they have no information about the intentions of the ministry of infrastructure, transport and networks as regards the liberalisation of their profession.
Meanwhile, the main opposition New Democracy (ND) party accused the prime minister of “provocative inaction” as regards the government’s stance vis-à-vis the taxi issue.
ND party spokesman Yiannis Mihelakis stated that the “incomprehensible” stance adopted by Infrastructure, Transport and Networks Minister Yiannis Ragoussis apparently serves a central political plan of the government aimed at distracting people’s attention from the urgent problems the country is faced with.
Despite the hardline stance adopted on a national level, taxi owner associations at a local level were on Wednesday announcing an end to their strike action, including those on the islands of Lesvos except in the island's central town of Mytilene and on the island of Rhodes.
Rhodes taxi owners suspend strike
Τaxi owners on the island of Rhodes announced the suspension of their strike late Tuesday following a meeting of the local taxi owners' union.
A few days earlier taxi owners on the island of Kos had reached to the same decision.
Taxi owners throughout Greece are currently in the fourth week of strikes and other mobilisations in protest over the government's decision to immediately deregulate the profession.
The federation's meeting follows a flurry of deliberations between federation delegations and ruling PASOK party and government officials, including transport minister Yiannis Ragoussis, who assured that the deregulation of the taxi profession will be effected through legislation, and not via the more speedy process of a Presidential Decree, which the owners consider will give them at least two months' time for dialogue with the government.
The federation will examine all the new aspects in the issue and decide on whether to call off the mobilisations or continue them, and in the event of the latter, what the further action will be.
Thousands of taxi owners facing charges over protest-related action
Police on Wednesday announced that a total of 7,568 taxi owners throughout Greece have been charged with obstructing traffic and transport or related offences, with up to 100 cases filed in court nationwide since the protests by taxi owners began on July 18.
Thirty-six such cases involving charges against 5,574 individuals have already been submitted to the local prosecuting authorities, they said.
In addition, police have forwarded 6,080 documents advising local regional general secretariats to impose the appropriate administrative penalties.
Taxi owner sentenced to 10 months jail for attack on MP offices
An Ioannina Misdemeanours Court on Wednesday handed down a jail sentence of 10 months, suspended for three years pending appeal, to a taxi owner arrested for vandalising the offices of two ruling PASOK MPs in the city.
He had been arrested with four other taxi owners that forced their way into the offices of the MPs in protest. The other four were acquitted because of lack of evidence to support the charges against them. In the case of the man sentenced, police had found his fingerprints in one of the two offices.