Commuters Nightmare: Strike Will Close Athens Public Transport

A woman stands in front of closed Metro gate during a 24-hour strike organized by GSEE, the biggest labor union representing the entire private sector and many public sector workers in Athens on Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2018. Unions want the left-led government to ditch key elements of the austerity packages that were imposed in waves since 2010 to balance the country's public finances, under pressure from international bailout creditors. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

ATHENS – Workers and drivers will find themselves caught in another jam on Feb. 18 when a 24-hour general strike will shut down the Greek capital’s public transport system, including the tram, metro, ISAP electric railway, buses and trolleys.

Hundreds of similar protests and strikes – it wasn’t said if the strikers will be paid anyway as has sometimes happened – haven’t worked over the last decade during a long-running economic and austerity crisis lifting slowly.

This time the target is the New Democracy government’s social security bill that workers don’t like and with a number of 24-hour strikes doing essentially nothing to make any government back off.

In a statement, the Athens Urban Rail Transport Company (STASY) denounced the new legislation, saying the government has not kept its promise to increase pensions that were slashed repeatedly over the years.

“The promised pension hikes are ultimately crumbs when compared to the income losses incurred over the last decade,” STASY said while the the workers’ union representing trolley bus workers (ILPAP) said the bill “privatizes social security and pushes thousands of workers to private insurers.”