Tension escalates between government and Athens metro unionists

Tension between the coalition government and Athens metro employees escalated on Wednesday, as government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou, speaking on Vima FM radio, warned unionists that if they did not comply with court decisions by Thursday they would face “the consequences of the law.”

While the government considered the possibility of issuing a civil mobilization order forcing Athens metro workers to return to their duties, fixed-track operator STASY did not discard the possibility of firing employees.

On Wednesday, Christos Koukis, head of the fixed-track drivers’ union, warned of a “public transport black-out,” if civil mobilization was imposed.

While commuters faced a seventh consecutive day of no metro services on Wednesday, an Athens court on Monday had ruled Tuesday’s strike action, organized by the main metro workers’ union SELMA, illegal.

The continuous industrial action was a protest against wage reductions, as a result of the government’s decision to include the sector in a new civil service salary scheme.

Also on Wednesday, Kifissia-Piraeus electric railway (ISAP) and tram services were halted from noon to 4 p.m., while buses and trolley buses were also pulled off the streets between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m

A new 24-hour strike on all modes of public transport is being planned for Thursday, January 31.

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