Flights will be grounded, schools will be shut and hospitals will only accept emergency cases today as civil servants hold a 24-hour strike across the country, in protest action that could continue up to the Christmas period. The public sector is expected to grind to a halt as its workers union, ADEDY, pushes its pay demands for 2006. «Our main demand is regarding wages,» ADEDY General Secretary Ilias IIiopoulos told Kathimerini English Edition. «Out of the original 15 countries in the EU, we are second to last when it comes to pay levels. We want this gap to close,» he added. Some 500 flights will be canceled at Athens International Airport, while tax offices, post offices and some banks will also be shut. Pay talks are expected to start at the end of this month after the EU finishes scrutinizing the Greek budget. Union officials said that the first step made by the state in wage negotiations will determine their action plan. «If any protest action takes place it will be held in the second 10 days of December,» Iliopoulos said.