Greek workers strike over closure of broadcaster ERT | News | DW | 13.06.2013
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Greek workers strike over closure of broadcaster ERT

Greek public workers have been staging a protest against the shock closure of the country’s state broadcaster. Buses and trains stopped running, with air traffic controllers also planning a walkout.

Buses and subway train services were severely limited in Athens on Thursday, as public workers took strike action in protest at the closure of the Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation (ERT).

Train and ferry links were also closed and hospital staff had been reduced. Air traffic controllers were also due to strike later in the day.

Journalists staged an indefinite strike after the government's sudden closure of ERT late on Tuesday, ensuring that major newspapers went unpublished.

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Greek government under pressure after closing state broadcaster

ERT - which has three television channels and seven national radio stations - was abruptly pulled off the air late on Tuesday, with some 2,600 staff being suspended.

"The ERT lockup amounts to a coup d'etat," leading private sector union GSEE said in a statement. The strike action is largely being coordinated by GSEE and the public sector union ADEDY, with a protest being held outside the broadcaster's headquarters on Thursday.

Programming continues

As an act of defiance, journalists from ERT have occupied the organization's main broadcasting center, continuing programming via internet stream.

Socialist and moderate leftist parties have described the closure as "unacceptable," complaining that the decision was made by ministerial decree, without approval from parliament. A government source told the AFP news agency late on Wednesday that Prime Minister Antonis Samaras would discuss the matter with his coalition partners.

"The prime minister, who always seeks dialogue, will telephone the political leaders for a meeting in the coming days," the government source said. Samaras has defended the closure, describing ERT as "a hotbed of opacity and waste."

Following the uproar that surrounded the closure, the Greek administration presented a bill to create a new broadcaster - called New Hellenic Radio, Internet and Television - with less than half the number of current staff.

rc/slk (AFP, dpa, Reuters)

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