Department of Forests: It goes on strike and escalates measures due to understaffing
Such is the announcement
The Department of Forestry Employees issued a statement announcing the intention to escalate measures due to non-resolution of the problem of understaffing.
The Department of Forestry Employees announces that, after taking into account that no progress has been made on the issue of restoring the 27 positions, to restore the staff of the TD to tolerable and safe levels under the circumstances, it decided to proceed with escalation of measures, according to the mandate of the vast majority of the members of the Branch.
At the same time that our request is exclusively communicated management, both by the Ministry of Finance and by the Ministry of GAAP, new responsibilities and responsibilities are loaded on the backs of the already overburdened and exhausted forest staff.
Contrary to what is publicly stated, no dialogue is conducted to resolve the problem of understaffing and apparently there are no sincere intentions.
We reiterate that the 27 positions are absolutely necessary for the basic restoration of the ability of the Department to operate at tolerable levels, under the circumstances and are related to the responsibilities that the TD had until 2009, before they were dramatically expanded (2012-2020). .
Pending the completion of the plans and proposals of the employer side, we have not been placed and have not yet submitted any suggestions for the additional staff required for:
the improvement of the operation of the Aircraft Unit and the strengthening of the air firefighting (acquisition of additional aircraft, new supply bases, etc.),
the strengthening and upgrading of the Fire Protection Department of the Department for the integrated prevention, pre-emption and for the implementation of the Management Plan of the Forest Fire Extinguishing Operations,
adequate coverage of rural areas beyond the Department of Forests' area of responsibility and any consideration for broader changes,
supporting the operation of the "ZENON" Coordination Center,
the operational needs of the Akamas National Forest Park and the implementation of the relevant Development Plan (new infrastructure, expanded and additional obligations and responsibilities, etc.),
the need of the State for reorganization and adaptation in view of the intensifying challenges arising from climate change but also the compliance with our relevant European obligations in the forestry sector.
It is obvious that, with the existing organic composition, even with the 27 positions, the staff of the TD is not enough and can not cover any of the above new responsibilities. Already, he has taken on new and much expanded responsibilities from 2012 until today, surpassing himself.
Due to the lack of progress on the issue, the Board of Directors of the Branch has called on its members to abstain, from Monday, January 31, 2022, from any overtime work and special hours, EXCEPT FOR EXTINGUISHING FOREST FIRE. In the work of extinguishing forest fires, we explicitly declare our readiness to assist without suspensions, without hesitation and obstruction, if and when we are invited to participate.
We have already informed all the officials and bodies involved about this development, including the President of the Republic.
As Foresters, we have shown incredible patience and tolerance for a number of years. The attitude of our Branch was unquestionably responsible and constructive, but without a substantial response. Every year the State assures us that it fully listens to our concerns and supports our work, but every year, our Members continue to be obliged to violate the maximum allowed working time by recording 60 hours and 70 hours per week, but also by recording 24 , 36, sometimes 48 hours of continuous and painstaking work in firefighting operations. The margins are exhausted, as are we. Therefore, our Sector and Members will not bear any responsibility for any negative developments, especially if this situation is extended until the Spring.
We are sorry for this development, but, unfortunately, we have no other options. We are obliged to protect our members, but also the forests of our country, from this prolonged, deficit and dangerous situation. At the same time, we are ready, at any time, if there is a sincere will and real intention to solve the problem, to re-evaluate our decision.