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ERT Staff Won't Leave Building

erttypesFired workers of the national broadcaster ERT, which was shut down on June 11 by the government, are still operating from their old headquarters via satellite and over the Internet, with the help of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) as Prime Minister Antonis Samaras said he wants them to leave but has ignored a court order to restore its signal.
Samaras fired all 2,656 workers as he rushed to meet an end-of-June deadline set by the country’s international lenders to reduce the public work staff by 2,500 people – only 99 had been let go this year – and he said it was easier to fire everyone at one agency instead of cherry-picking redundant workers in a number of institutions. No workers in the Parliament, who have been exempted from austerity measures as well, have been let go despite complaints from critics they do little and receive high pay.
Dismissed employees continued with their pirate broadcast despite a statement issued by the Finance Ministry calling on them to “evacuate the premises… to allow for the unhindered and immediate implementation of the Council of State’s decision,” a reference to a ruling by the court that approved ERT’s closure but called for its signal to be restored.
The statement said authorities were drafting plans for the recruitment of 2,000 people to run a transitional broadcast service but did not specify the length of the contracts. The union representing sacked workers responded defiantly to the ministry’s order, saying staff would stay put.
Meanwhile, the workers have said that they will continue their occupation of the premises. There was no word whether Samaras would call in the riot police to clean them out, a tactice he used earlier this year to force striking Metro workers and seamen to return to their jobs, although some of the marine workers said they weren’t paid and forced to work anyway.

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