Public, private sectors strike

Over a year after the first, intense reactions to the government’s initial plans to reform the ailing social security system, most of Greece will be affected today by a 24-hour strike mounted by the country’s biggest labor unions against the watered-down pension bill currently being debated in Parliament. In Athens, home to about half the Greek population, there will be no public transport as workers in the blue buses, trolleys, electric railway and metro are participating in the strike. Electric railway employees are also striking tomorrow and on Thursday, from 1-5 p.m. Taxis, however, will be running normally. Dozens of Olympic Airways flights will be canceled, with the company carrying out only one flight per destination in Greece and abroad. And flights will be disrupted tomorrow as well, with air traffic controllers joining their colleagues from France, Italy, Spain, Portugal and Switzerland in a 24-hour strike to protest against European Union plans for an integrated air traffic management system. As a result, all charter flights are expected to be canceled, while other airlines will probably carry out one flight per destination. Major disruption will be caused by striking seamen, who also want a better pension deal in separate action from that staged today by the umbrella unions representing private (GSEE) and public (ADEDY) sector employees. The seamen’s union (PNO) starts a series of rolling, 48-hour strikes from 6 a.m. today. State hospitals will be running on skeleton staff today, while doctors at the Social Security Foundation (IKA) are holding a separate 24-hour strike. ADEDY and GSEE will hold a protest rally at 10.30 a.m. on the corner of Patission Street and Alexandras Avenue.