More transport upheaval looming

Transport upheaval is set to resume on Monday following a difficult week for long-suffering commuters, although flights are unlikely to be disrupted on Sunday after a court declared a planned 24-hour strike by air traffic controllers as illegal.

A walkout Friday by workers on the Athens metro, the Piraeus-Kifissia electric railway (ISAP) and the tram led to a second day of congestion in Athens as city dwellers who usually use public transport took out their cars instead.

Public transport workers, who are protesting the government?s plans to transfer staff to other positions in the state sector and to put thousands on a heavily docked salary for 12 months, are planning further action next week. On Monday, a walkout will halt city buses between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. and trolley buses between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Taxi drivers, who are protesting the government?s plans to open up their sector to competition, are also planning a 48-hour strike for next week, probably for Tuesday and Wednesday, though the dates will be finalized on Monday.

The government fears that its plans to put thousands of public transport workers on a labor standby scheme, which will involve their wages being slashed by up to 50 percent for 12 months, could spark a series of vehement protests.

Earlier this month, the transfer of 144 employees of the Piraeus-Kifissia electric railway (ISAP) to other positions in the broader state sector resulted in serious disruptions to the route?s services and led to the sacking of the head of the company overseeing the operation of the metro, tram and ISAP.