Transport unions to hold more stoppages

A bid by the government to defuse its row with public transport workers by inviting them to talks on the reforms to their sector appears to have failed as several unions decided on Friday to continue next week the work stoppages and strikes that began in early December.

Labor groups representing workers on the buses, trolley buses and tram said yesterday that they would walk off the job between 11 a.m. and 3.30 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday. Employees of the Kiffisia-Piraeus electric railway (ISAP) have planned to meet on Monday to discuss whether they will take any further action. Representatives of staff on the metro decided to refrain from more protest, pending discussions with the government.

The unions are demanding that the talks between the two sides start with a blank slate rather than be based on the draft law that PASOK has already prepared. The bill, which was approved by the Cabinet this week, foresees 1,500 employees being transferred to other departments, tickets prices rising and strict budget rules being enforced.