Strike to paralyze transport, services

A 24-hour strike by thousands of workers in the public and private sectors tomorrow – the second major protest against austerity measures heralded by the government – is expected to bring transport services to a halt as well as shutting down banks and other services and imposing a media blackout as journalists join the action. All but a handful of flights into and out of Greece will be canceled as air-traffic controllers join the walkout. Passengers scheduled to fly tomorrow should contact their airline for information about changes. The strike will also affect public transport in the capital as employees of the metro, trolley buses, the tram, the suburban railway and the Hellenic Railways Organization (OSE) stay home. There will be disruptions on the Piraeus-Kifissia urban electric railway (ISAP), where services will be suspended between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m. and between 4 p.m. and midnight, and on city buses, where services will be suspended between 5 a.m. and 7.30 a.m. and from 10 p.m. onward. Public transport will be subject to similar disruptions in Thessaloniki. Union leaders representing striking workers yesterday justified the protests against the cash-strapped government which is trying to plug a gaping budget deficit and revive the confidence of international investors in Greece’s reeling economy. «We are aware of the intense pressure [on the government] but we have to react,» Yiannis Panagopoulos, the president of the General Confederation of Greek Labor (GSEE), which called tomorrow’s strike, said in an interview with To Vima daily’s radio station. Panagopoulos stressed that «people are more important than markets.»

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