Transport workers scale up their action

Workers on the metro and Kifissia-Piraeus electric railway (ISAP), who staged a 24-hour walkout on Monday, decided to scale up their action in protest at the government’s plans to streamline their services. Metro workers are to hold a fresh 24-hour strike on Tuesday while ISAP workers have called a 48-hour strike for Wednesday and Thursday. Complicating matters for commuters, city bus workers, who walked off the job for five hours on Monday, are to step up their action with a 48-hour strike Tuesday and Wednesday. Trolley bus workers are also starting a 48-hour walkout on Tuesday. The management of the metro and ISAP have launched appeals against the planned strikes in a bid to get them declared illegal and abusive and overturned.

The action coincides with scheduled public transport price hikes on Tuesday of up to 40 percent. The 1-euro, 90-minute ticket for all modes of transport is being replaced by a 1.20-euro ticket for single journeys and a 1.40-euro multiple-journey ticket, which will also be good for 90 minutes from the time it is validated.

Barring last week, there have been strikes and stoppages on the public transport system every week since the beginning of December but unions had recently agreed to hold off engaging in any further action so they could sit down for talks with the Transport Ministry about proposed reforms.

However, metro and electric railway drivers decided on Saturday that the government had gone back on its word on discussed concessions and their unions declared a 24-hour strike for Monday.

The bill introducing wide-ranging public transport reforms, which include the transfer of some personnel, closer budget monitoring and increases in ticket prices, was tabled in Parliament last Thursday.