Strikes, protests to shut city down

There will be no public transport today as employees step up their protests with a 24-hour strike to coincide with a scheduled vote in Parliament on new reforms relaxing labor laws and introducing wage cuts at public companies. As Prime Minister George Papandreou meets with opposition leaders to discuss their objections to the bill – the latest raft of reforms demanded by the country’s international creditors – members of the Confederation of Greek Labor (GSEE) and the civil servants’ union (ADEDY) are to stage rallies outside Parliament protesting «the violent overhaul of labor relations.» Union members are to join a three-hour work stoppage beginning at noon today before scaling up their protests with a 24-hour strike tomorrow. Yesterday afternoon members of the unions representing bus and trolley bus workers blocked vehicles from leaving Athens depots at the end of a six-hour work stoppage. Tomorrow, to enable protesters to travel into town and attend protest rallies, buses and trolley buses are to operate from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m. while the metro and the Piraeus-Kifissia urban electric railway (ISAP) will be running from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. Trains, which are to stage rolling work stoppages today, will not run at all tomorrow. Tomorrow’s strike will ground flights, anchor ferries in ports and close hospitals and schools. Taxis are to join tomorrow’s action with a four-hour work stoppage, starting at 10 a.m. Taxi drivers said yesterday that a 1-euro surcharge usually added to fares as a Christmas bonus would not apply this year due to the impact of the economic crisis. State hospitals will operate on emergency staff all week as doctors stage rolling 48-hour strikes. Journalists will join tomorrow’s 24-hour strike and also stage a 48-hour strike on Friday and Saturday.

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