Acropolis Site Staff Protests Privatization of Access Gates in Athens

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Protest Letter Sent by Acropolis Site Staff Regarding Privatization of Access Gates

Staff members responsible for guarding the archaeological site of the Acropolis in Athens have expressed their outrage in a letter of protest to the Greek government. The letter specifically addresses Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Minister of Culture Lina Mendoni, and the Hellenic Organization of Cultural Resources Development, highlighting concerns over plans to allow a private company to oversee the access gates at the renowned site.

The letter argues that the responsibility of protecting antiquities, which is constitutionally mandated, is being delegated to "whoever offers the least to control the gates of the Acropolis." The employees, as reported by news outlet Documento, point out that the Hellenic Organization of Cultural Resources Development has lacked printers and adequate ticket houses for several years. They also claim that the batteries in the turnstiles have not been replaced for an extended period, resulting in increased demands on human resources.

In early December, media outlets reported that a tender had been issued for "the provision of services for the operation of the electronic ticket issuing and cancellation system, reception, and service of visitors at the entrance gates of the archaeological site of the Acropolis." The winning bidder has yet to be announced.

This provision of services encompasses all related support provided by the contractor's staff, aiming to enhance the quality of services offered to the public. The estimated value of the contract exceeds 1.6 million euros, excluding VAT, and solely pertains to services rendered at the entrance gates of the site.

The Ministry of Culture had previously launched a tender for the 59 coffee shops at archaeological sites and museums, which was awarded to a well-known catering chain. Many small and medium-sized businesses failed to meet the minimum criteria to participate in the tender, including a requirement for an annual turnover exceeding 1 million euros over the past five years.

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