Strikes and disruption set to intensify

Power cuts continued across Greece for a seventh day yesterday while garbage piled up on city streets as unions prepared more protests, including industrial action that will see public transport in Athens grind to a halt tomorrow. Homes in various parts of Athens and other cities lost electricity again last night due to the strike by workers at the Public Power Corporation (PPC) despite assurances by management that they would try to keep cuts to a minimum. Earlier in the day, unionists had agreed to allow more power stations to come online but they did not signal an end to their industrial action. It is likely that the strike will continue until Parliament votes on the pension reform bill, which is the cause of the protests, later this month. Meanwhile, piles of rubbish are getting higher on Athens’s streets as municipal workers decided to extend their strike action until Sunday night. Some 7,000 tons of trash are rotting on the city’s sidewalks, posing a serious health risk as the waste has not been collected since last week. Rubbish piles are bigger in front of restaurants, forcing some store owners to resort to paying private operators to remove the rubbish. More strike action is expected from metro and Kifissia-Piraeus electric railway (ISAP) workers, who will walk off the job tomorrow, leaving about 1 million commuters stranded for the day. The same workers will also hold a three-hour work stoppage as of noon today, along with the trams, ETHEL buses and the Proastiakos suburban railway. This will be part of a work stoppage organized by the GSEE and ADEDY unions. Lawyers and engineers will go on a 48-hour strike from today. Bank workers are due to begin their own two-day strike tomorrow. An all-party parliamentary committee yesterday began examining the pensions draft law before it is put before the house.

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