Minister turns screw on transport workers

Acting at the behest of Transport Minister Dimitris Reppas, public transport organizations on Monday launched legal action against their employees in a bid to avert a further wave of strikes.

There will be no service on the Athens metro or the Piraeus-Kifissia electric railway (ISAP) on Wednesday as workers stage a 24-hour strike in an ongoing protest against government plans to streamline public transport companies.

Bus services will be suspended between noon and 4 p.m. while other modes of transport will be running normally. Public transport workers are reportedly considering another all-day strike on Monday, January 10. In a related development, ISAP?s management said yesterday that its trains would not be running between the stations of Irini and Kifissia between Thursday, January 6, through Wednesday, January 19, due to renovation works.

Sources said that after almost a month of successive strikes and work stoppages, the government wants to increase the pressure on the unions to stop the action, although Reppas has said he will only consider a civil mobilization order as a last option.

In an effort to counter the protests, the government yesterday reminded journalists that it had not fired any metro employees over the last few months but had simply not renewed their fixed-term contracts.