Greek asylum service staff announce 48-hour strike over unpaid wages

Some 300 contract workers employed by Greece’s Asylum Service to work at refugee facilities throughout the country began a 48-hour strike on Wednesday to demand three months of unpaid wages.

Talking to the Athens-Macedonian News Agency, the migration policy ministry said a decision for the disbursement of the sums owed was signed by General Secretary for Public Investments and the NSRF Panagiotis Korkolis on Tuesday. This would be posted in the government’s ‘Diavgia’ website on Wednesday, the ministry said, after which payment can be made immediately.

The ministry attributed the delay to technical difficulties, caused by the fact that the money is paid via European programmes rather than the state budget.

The contract workers told ANA they would continue their strike regardless, since they had additional demands and the problems with wage payments remained. “This happens every time; we have to resort to labour action in order to speed up the process,” the union representatives said.

The contract workers, in addition to back pay, are also demanding equal rights with colleagues having indefinite contracts and prospects of a permanent job, on the grounds that they are covering standing and constant needs. They also have demands linked to poor standards of safety and hygiene at hotspots, affecting both staff and residents.