Halyvourgia steel plant re-opens amid tension

Halyvourgia steel plant in Aspropyrgos, western Attica, re-opened on Friday morning following a nine-month shutdown due to a labor dispute.

The move followed a court order issued a month and a half ago which deemed the strike action staged by Halyvourgia employess as illegal. The western Attica plant had been closed since last November.

Tension rose outside the plant’s gates on Friday, as Communist Party-affiliated PAME unionists held protests and prevented staff from entering the premises. The move caused major traffic jams in the broader area.

The labor dispute pitted the steel company’s employee union, which had been demanding the reinstatement of dismissed employees, against management, which had been asking for an end to industrial action before negotiations could take place.

Halyvourgia owner Nikos Manesis had issued an ultimatum saying that he would close the plant unless strike action was halted. Earlier this week Labor Minister Yiannis Vroutsis attempted to strike a deal with union representatives and avoid a shutdown and had asked Manesis to delay his order to close down the plant.

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