Fri, Jun 14, 2013 - Page 7 News List

Greek unions strike over ERT closure

UNITED?Despite shock at the broadcaster’s closure, the strike seemed confined to the public sector, with most private-sector businesses opening as usual

Reuters, ATHENS

The opposition’s rhetoric was no less heated.

Left-wing leader Alexis Tsipras, addressing protesting ERT workers in Greece’s second-biggest city, Thessaloniki, called on Greeks to defend democracy.

“What we experienced yesterday was unprecedented, not only for Greece but for all of Europe,” Tsipras said. “Public television goes dark only in two circumstances: when a country is occupied by foreign forces or when there is a coup.”

Most public-sector activity is expected to come to a halt during yesterday’s strike, with train and bus employees and bankers among various groups joining the walkout.

Unemployment has climbed to almost 27 percent in Greece after more than 850,000 jobs, most in the private sector, were wiped out since the beginning of Greece’s six-year recession.

About 2,600 ERT employees are to lose their jobs. Some of them are to be re-hired in the new broadcaster which is expected to employee about 1,200 people.

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