NEWS

General strike expected to cause disruption

A mass strike on Wednesday against further tax hikes and public spending cuts planned by the Socialist government in return for a bailout from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund is expected to block streets and cause severe traffic disruptions.

Protesters who have been rallying at Syntagma Square over the past three weeks are expected to join forces with GSEE and ADEDY, Greece’s two largest union groups, which have called a 24-hour general strike on Wednesday mobilizing public and private sector workers.

Hospitals, health centers and ambulance staff will operate on skeleton staffs as doctors and nurses hold a walkout on Wednesday, while coastal ferries and passenger ships will remain docked due to a 24-hour strike by the Panhellenic Seamen’s Federation (PNO). Meanwhile, shops will close between noon and 3 p.m.

Greek air-traffic controllers on Tuesday announced they would not take part in the general strike, citing a reluctance to disrupt air travel during the peak tourist season.

People using public transport should expect snags and delays on Wednesday as services will be hit by work stoppages. The Piraeus-Kifissia electric railway (ISAP) will run from 8 a.m. to midnight, commuter buses from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., trolley buses from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., and the tram from 6 a.m. to midnight. OSE trains and the Proastiakos suburban railway will not be operating at all, while the Athens metro will suspend its services to the city?s international airport but will otherwise operate normally.

Furthermore, Greece faces a news blackout as journalists have planned a 24-hour strike to protest cuts and sackings in the sector.