Following the sudden closure of Greek state broadcaster Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation, or ERT, two of Greece’s major labor unions Thursday went on strike to protest what they see as the prime minister’s “coup-like move ... to gag unbiased information,” the Guardian reports.
The Greek government says this is merely a temporary shutdown as a “cost-cutting measure,” Reuters reports; the 75-year-old broadcaster will be relaunched in a “slimmed-down form.” Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras has agreed to meet with protest leaders over the shutdown, which put approximately 2,900 people out of work.
This is the third general labor strike this year, the New York Times notess. Those who support the strike call ERT’s blackout a unilateral and “unacceptable decision” and evidence of the prime minister’s authoritarianism. Those who support closing ERT cite the TV station as a bloated government puppet that employed too many people and did too little.
"ERT is a typical example of unique lack of transparency and incredible waste,” Simos Kedikoglou, spokesman for the government and a former state TV journalist, told Al-Jazeera.
But Prokipis Doukas, a former anchor for ERT’s main state channel, told the New York Times, “I’m not saying that employees and unions are blameless, but it’s the management and the politicians who put them there who are chiefly responsible for wasteful spending.”
AP reports 10,000 people rallied outside the ERT headquarters in Athens, while fired ERT staff members occupied the building for a third day.