Greeks lock horns over pay and status

February 15, 2002

Academics at Greece's universities and technological institutes are squaring up for industrial action after a new education act was adopted by parliament.

Five of the country's largest technological institutes - Athens, Piraeus, Thessaloniki, Patras and Larissa - have suspended operations and others are expected to follow. And university lecturers have threatened to strike if their salaries and pensions are not brought in line with those of high court judges.

Academics at the technical institutes are mainly concerned at their uncertain status. The institutes gained degree-awarding powers last year but they are not allowed to carry out postgraduate programmes, staff are effectively excluded from research and those without postgraduate qualifications cannot be promoted.

Education secretary Petros Efthymiou said he was willing to help institute staff who wished to obtain qualifications for promotion and that the government was sympathetic to the university lecturers' demands. But he made it clear that he was not prepared to return to the status quo ante.

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