Greek FinMin Cleaners Make INYT Front Page


“Can the Greek government actually shrink the state? wonders Niki Katsantonis who wrote an extensive article on the struggle of the Finance Ministry’s cleaners, published on the cover page of the International New York Times. Furthermore, the article focused on the wave of redress of public employee groups to declare their suspensions and layoffs illegal and unconstitutional, while it also hosted a picture where the cleaners actually had to fight with Greek police officers.

The journalist believes that the situation poses a “nearly existential question for the government: Can it actually shrink the state?” In addition “the David-and-Goliath-style standoff has turned the cleaning women into unlikely symbols of resistance to the austerity measures that Mr. Samaras insists have gradually allowed Greece to resume control of its finances, return to bond markets and report a primary surplus,” notes the article regarding the fight between cleaners and Greek police.

Moreover, the article focuses on the wave of lawsuits which aim to declare the suspension and layoff of public sector employees — police officers, university administrators, cleaners and clerks as illegal and unconstitutional. “A ministry official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said a reversal of the cleaners’ dismissals could gut the “central tenet” of the government’s plans to trim the public sector — its “mobility scheme” — that began last year,” it added.

“The government is in a state of emergency, so it is violating the Constitution. The judges are doing their job. The demands of the troika are not their problem,” said legal theory professor, Aristides Hatzis, to the International New York Times.