NEWS

Strike to paralyze transport, services

Public services and transport are to grind to a halt once again tomorrow as thousands of workers join yet another 24-hour general strike, called by the country’s two main unions to protest a scheduled parliamentary vote on deeply unpopular pension and labor relations reforms.. Flights to and from the country will be grounded between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. as air-traffic controllers join the protest and demand the payment of outstanding wages. The air-traffic controllers have threatened to stage rolling strikes throughout the month of July – action that would hamper the travel plans of thousands of tourists – unless they are paid. There will be virtually no public transport in Athens tomorrow as workers on the metro, buses, trolley buses, tram and Piraeus-Kifissia urban electric railway (ISAP) walk off the job. Greeks and visitors planning to travel to Aegean destinations tomorrow will face a day of frustration as seamen belonging to unions affiliated with the Communist Party (KKE) join the 24-hour action, blocking access to ferries in Piraeus. The KKE-backed labor union PAME is also planning a protest rally tomorrow in central Omonia Square at 11 a.m., an hour after members of the General Confederation of Greek Labor (GSEE) and the civil servants’ union ADEDY are due to gather in Klafthmonos Square. Demonstrators from both rallies are expected to subsequently march on Parliament, where a vote on the controversial reforms is expected in the afternoon. Tomorrow’s strike action will also disrupt services in the broader public sector, closing down schools and tax offices and leaving hospitals to operate on emergency staff. There will also be a media blackout as journalists join the walkout.