Action on public transport rolls along

The government yesterday ruled out issuing civil mobilization orders to prevent public transport workers in Athens from conducting further strikes and work stoppages, which are set to continue today and tomorrow. The regular action, which first began on December 8, is to affect all modes of transport apart from the tram today. There will be no buses between 11 a.m. and 3.30 p.m. while trolley buses will not be circulating between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Workers on the metro and the Kifissia-Piraeus electric railway (ISAP) decided to coordinate their action, so there will be no trains between 5 a.m. and 8 a.m. and from 9 p.m. onward. The action comes as the Cabinet is due to discuss today the bill that foresees the overhauling of the Athens Urban Transport Organization (OASA). The government wants to streamline public transport and is considering the possibility of paving the way for the private sector to become involved in the running of the network, which is something that labor unions are vehemently opposed to. Employees on the buses, trolley buses and metro have planned a 24-hour strike for tomorrow in anticipation of the Cabinet approving the Transport Ministry’s reforms. A work stoppage between noon and 4 p.m. has also been lined up for the electric railway. The companies that run the various modes of transport have taken legal action against the unions. The court’s decision is due today. However, government spokesman Giorgos Petalotis said yesterday that should the court’s decision not end the protest action, the strikers will not be issued with civil mobilization orders forcing them back to work. «Civil mobilization may be an easy solution but we are not considering it,» he said. «We have too much work ahead of us to be talking of civil mobilization orders.»