ATHENS – Hundreds of striking Greek public workers, mostly teachers, marched through the capital's center Jan. 17 keeping up their demands for more hirings of teachers on short-term contracts who want permanent, life-time jobs.
The ruling Radical Left SYRIZA, in what rival parties said was a transparent bid to buy votes in an election year with Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras falling out of favor after reneging on anti-austerity promises, said it would hire 15,000 teachers over the next three years.
That would start in the autumn this year and go on over three years but the teachers' unions said that the process is unfairly weighted against teachers who have been working for years on short-time contracts. They also want more teachers to be hired.
The umbrella civil servants’ union, ADEDY, called a 24-hour public sector strike to back the teachers’ demands, although the walkout mainly affected schools and thousands of similar protests and demonstrations against austerity during a more than 8 1/2-year economic and austerity crisis largely failed any government to move away from reforms demanded by international creditors in return for 326 billion euros ($371.55 billion) in three bailouts.
Teachers have held two protest marches in Athens over the past week over the hiring plan that were both marred by clashes between some demonstrators and riot police who used tear gas
to disperse state schoolteachers protesting violently in Athens, days after the country’s public order minister accused officers of indiscriminately attacking teachers in similar circumstances.
The violence came during a protest by about 2,000 teachers Jan. 14 against the government’s process for hiring new staff in state schools. Police used tear gas and stun grenades to disperse dozens of protesters who tried to break through a police cordon, attacking officers with sticks and stones.
(Material from the Associated Press was used in this report)