On 15 January 2018, trade unions representing public service workers, including in the education sector, held a major demonstration in Athens. The protest action was in response to the omnibus law 4512 legislated by the Greek government. According to DOE, this law includes prerequisite measures and prior actions which serve as basis for the third assessment such as interfering with the right to strike, the extension of the electronic auctions to cases of public debt (tax and insurance debt starting from €500,00) as well as the criteria and the timeline for the forthcoming mergers of school units starting in the school year 2018-2019.

Thanasis Kikinis, DOE President, said “The Greek authorities have amended the procedure for calling strikes at company level. Concretely, this amendment only applies in the private sector for the time being. However, the quorum required for the vote by first level trade unions to call a strike has been increased from one third to one half plus one of the trade unions members current on their trade union membership fees. This will definitely result in the restraining of unions’ rights and clearly shows the path that the authorities will follow regarding labour legislation and union rights in the public sector also”.

The Executive board of OLME added, “Yet again, upon voting on the prerequisites required by the Troika for the completion of the third evaluation, the government has committed to a new series of school mergers and to a further reduction of labour costs. At the same time, the government has committed to freeze the recruitment of new permanent teachers for the year 2018. The Executive Board of OLME will fight against the implementation of this policy”.

ETUCE continues a close monitoring of the critical situation in the country.