Strike to disrupt transport, services

A nationwide general strike today will disrupt air travel and public transport, shut state offices and paralyze many key services. Thousands of workers are expected to walk off the job to join the action, called by the main labor union (GSEE) and the civil servants’ union (ADEDY) to protest rising prices and pension reforms. Intercity, suburban railway and tram services will not be running at all. The urban electric railway service (ISAP) and trolley buses will be suspending services between 5 a.m. and 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. and midnight. The metro will suspend services between 5 a.m. and 9 a.m. and between 5 p.m. and midnight. Buses will not run from 5 a.m. to 8 a.m. or 6 p.m. until midnight. There will be very little activity at Athens International Airport, as Olympic Airlines (OA) staff stage a walkout and air-traffic controllers hold a work stoppage between noon and 4 p.m. More than 100 flights have been canceled, 75 of them OA flights. Although the seamen’s union had not called any action by late yesterday, those planning to travel by ferry should contact their local port authority since two smaller unions are striking, which may affect some routes. Doctors, teachers and journalists will also join the action. Staff at Attica’s main landfill site, northwest of Athens, are striking too, prompting Athens Mayor Nikitas Kaklamanis to appeal to citizens not to throw out their trash today as there is nowhere for it to go. Many striking workers are expected to join one of two rallies planned for central Athens today so there will be traffic problems. The first rally is due to start in Omonia Square at 10.30 p.m., while the main protest is to kick off at 11 a.m. at the Pedion tou Areos park. Motorists are advised to avoid the city center.