Two-day strike to paralyze services
All public transport, except for the Athens Metro, will grind to a halt today and tomorrow, and public services will be thrown into disarray as workers join a 48-hour strike called by the country’s two main unions to coincide with a Parliamentary debate and vote on the government’s new austerity measures.
There will be no service on buses, trolley buses, the tram, trains, the suburban railway (Proastiakos) and the Kifissia-Piraeus electric railway (ISAP) today and tomorrow though the Metro will be running. Air traffic controllers are to join the strike with two fourhour stoppages – from 8 a.m. to noon today and from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. tomorrow. This will disrupt dozens of flights, so passengers are advised to check with their airlines.
Those planning to travel by ferry should also check schedules as some seamen’s unions, though not the umbrella union, have said they will join the action.
Apart from paralyzing transport, the strike will also hamper public services, leaving hospitals operating on skeleton staff and closing schools, government offices and courts. A strike by municipal sanitation workers, launched at midnight on Sunday, may lead to trash accumulating in the streets of Athens and Thessaloniki in coming days. Workers blocked access to the main landfills in both cities yesterday.
The two main unions – the civil servants’ union, ADEDY, and the main private sector union, GSEE – are to hold a joint rally at Pedion tou Areos, near central Athens, at 11 a.m., while the Communist-backed labor union, PAME, has a separate rally planned for 10 a.m. Two more rallies are planned for 7 p.m. tomorrow – ADEDY and GSEE at Klafthmonos Square and PAME at the Temple of Zeus.
Demonstrators are planning to surround Parliament tomorrow.