NEWS

Only buses to run on Thursday due to transport strike

Commuters in Athens will only have buses at their disposal on Thursday as workers on all other modes of public transport are due to stage a 24-hour strike, which comes as employees at the Athens Urban Transport Organization (OASA) accuse the government of trying to illegally transfer some of their colleagues.

The metro, ISAP electric railway, tram and trolley buses will all grind to a halt today in the latest strike by transport workers. There have been more than 10 strikes and numerous work stoppages on the public transport network since December.

Employees are protesting against a reduction in funding and demanding a commitment from the government that it will not privatize the network. The transfer of employees to other departments is also a bone of contention.

OASA employees on Wednesday accused the government of breaking its own recently passed law on reforming public transport. The legislation included provisions to transfer personnel from overstaffed departments but the workers? union said the government has not abided by the law it drafted.

A list of 100 OASA employees who would be transferred was posted on the Interior Ministry?s website. This prompted the employees? anger as the process was publicized and the government had pledged to transfer only 60 members of staff.

The unionists also argued that the law stipulated the ministry would first publish a list of all the jobs that needed to be filled in the public sector and then allow employees to apply for them, rather than producing a list of people that would be transferred.

They added that there is currently an administrative staff of 180 at OASA, 15 of whom will retire this year, and that if another 100 are moved to other departments, it will leave only 65 people to run the coordinating body for all modes of public transports, which, the unionists argue, is too few.