Relatives of Greece train tragedy to be compensated, fresh strikes planned
Athens, Mar 16 (EFE).- Greece’s train operator has announced a 42,000 euros compensation plan for each family affected by February’s deadly train collision as anger continues to mount in the country amid a second general strike planned on Thursday.
The families of deceased passengers will receive an advance payment of 42,000 euros ($44,623), injured passengers will receive 5,000 euros each and those who were hospitalized as a result of the crash will be handed 10,000 euros, Hellenic Train said in a statement.
The company, which is owned by Italy’s national state-owned railway, added that the compensation did not amount “in any way to an acceptance of responsibility by the company” for the accident that took place on February 28.
The incident occurred in Tempi when a northbound passenger train carrying 350 people and a southbound freight train collided while traveling in opposite directions on the same track on the Athens-Thessaloniki line. A total of 57 people were killed, most of them young students.
The Greek government announced last week that it would compensate each family that has lost a loved one in the accident with a monthly pension of 1,600 euros and a cancellation of all debts for families of victims.
Hellenic Train is operated by the Italian state-owned Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane, although the country’s railway infrastructure, including security systems, are managed by Greece’s national railway company OSE.
Anger has been mounting in Greece with citizens demanding justice for the victims of the accident and the modernization of Greece’s railway system, which has been underfunded for years.
On Thursday the nation woke to a second 24-hour general strike following March 8’s public sector strike.
This time the strike has been called for by both the private and public sector unions, GSEE and ADEDY, and demonstrations are expected across the country.
Air traffic controllers and sailors have also joined the strike, with most flights canceled and ships remaining moored in the ports.
Many schools will not open with teachers also joining the industrial action, alongside railway workers, who ended a 10-day strike on Friday last week.
Tens of thousands of people are expected to flood the streets with protests showing no signs of abating as Greece grieves its worst-ever railway disaster.
Critics have blamed the deficiencies of Greece’s railway network on the government policies of privatization.
Greek prime minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, has since acknowledged that the specific section where the trains collided did not have security systems in place that could have prevented the tragedy after days of blaming the tragedy on a series of human errors.EFE