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Greek Health Workers Call Nationwide Strike Over Mandatory Vaccination

Αssociated Press

FILE- A health worker stands outside Laiko Hospital after a protest in Athens, Wednesday, Sept. 1, 2021. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

ATHENS -- The Panhellenic Federation of Public Hospital Employees (POEDHN) has called a five-hour nationwide strike from 10:00 until 15:00 on Tuesday, while it is organising rallies in Athens, Thessaloniki and other regional health departments and hospitals at 11:00 the same day.

The union deplored the impact of the law for mandatory vaccination against Covid-19 for healthcare staff, saying that 3,000 health-sector employees had been vaccinated after the law was passed whereas many more might have done so through efforts at persuasion.

"Public health has been deprived of the services of 7,000 healthcare workers," its announcement said, while the plans for covering the gaps created involved mergers, discontinuing clinics and services, privatisations and a return of contractors at all levels.

The union called for the return of unvaccinated staff on the grounds that vaccinated staff could also transmit the virus, albeit to a lesser extent, especially now that seven months had elapsed from their vaccination.

"Our colleagues should return to work with two rapid tests a week and personal protection measures," the announcement concluded.