Transport strike kicks off protests

There will be no public transport or taxis operating on Thursday as workers stage 24-hour strikes to protest government reforms.

Meanwhile the country?s two main labor unions, the civil servants? ADEDY and the General Confederation of Greek Labor (GSEE), called two 24-hour general strikes for October 5 and 19 to protest the government?s ongoing austerity drive.

On Thursday there will be no services on the Athens metro, city buses, trolley buses, the tram, the suburban railway and the national rail network as employees walk out to protest the government?s plans to streamline their services, transfer staff to other public sector jobs and put thousands of civil servants on a labor reserve scheme, with a heavily reduced salary for 12 months.

Meanwhile taxi drivers, who are protesting the opening of their profession to competition, decided to stage their own walkout Thursday, compounding the woes of commuters.

People planning to travel by air will face problems too as air-traffic controllers stage a three-hour walkout from 12.30 p.m. on Thursday and a 24-hour strike on Sunday.

There will also be problems with schools on Thursday as secondary school teachers protesting cutbacks join a 24-hour strike and their primary school counterparts hold rolling work stoppages.

Employees on Wednesday staged sit-ins at several government buildings including those of the Health and Finance ministries.

Finance Ministry staff have called a 48-hour strike for next Tuesday and Wednesday to protest fresh wage cuts. They are to be joined in their walkout by tax collectors and customs officials.

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