Strike action to paralyze Greece

Tomorrow will be a taxing day for most people, as a 24-hour general strike, called by two of the country’s main labor unions, promises to cripple public transport, disrupt flights and disable public sector services. The metro, the Athens-Piraeus electric railway, the suburban railway and the tram will not operate at all, while airport and rail schedules will be heavily disrupted. Olympic Airlines has said it will be conducting just one flight per destination. Trolley buses will stop operating between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. but blue buses are to operate nearly all day tomorrow – from 7.30 a.m. to 10.30 p.m. Ferry services will be disrupted between 8 a.m. and noon, when seamen are to stage a work stoppage. Many employees at private sector and state-controlled enterprises, such as energy company PPC, post offices, OTE Telecom and ports are also expected to participate in the strike. Schools across the country will be closed and hospitals will be operating on skeleton staff as teachers and doctors join the action. State and private television schedules will also be disturbed as workers walk off the job between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. Tomorrow’s action has been called by the General Confederation of Greek Labor (GSEE) and the Civil Servants’ Union (ADEDY), who are protesting the erosion of labor rights and calling for a collective labor agreement. Two demonstrations are to take place in Athens. The bigger one is likely to cause traffic problems, as crowds of protesters convene at the Pedion tou Areos park at 1 p.m. before marching to the Economy Ministry. Another rally, organized by the Communist-affiliated PAME, is to begin at 11 a.m. in Syntagma Square. Similar demonstrations are planned for Thessaloniki.