Union Workers Takeover of Greek Train Depot Brings Government Fury

File- Two street vendors carry their goods as they walk across a rail crossing during a strike of Greece's railway, in Athens, Tuesday, March 6, 2018. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

ATHENS – Greece’s New Democracy said it will move to demand discipline for union members who took over a train depot during a Feb. 18 strike that temporarily shut down the service that was not taking part until then.

The union members, who the government said acted in a “thug-like” manner, occupied a major station in the center of the Greek capital and it took Transport Minister Costas Karamanlis to step in to stop it.

The workers were trying to prevent the trains from operating a suburban rail service and succeeded for a time in stranding passengers who were waiting for trains that didn’t come, adding to a massive problem during the strike that included mass transportation services.

The 24-hour strike was called by unions representing mass transit systems in the greater Athens area, where some 40 percent of the country’s 11 million residents reside, said the business newspaper Naftemporiki in a report of the effect.

Karamanlis said the last-minute act affecting the rail network, was illegal and said the government will move against the workers who took part although it wasn’t reported whether strikers would be paid for not working, which has happened before.

Unions want the government to pull back a social security insurance bill and to rescind all previous cuts and reforms during a near decade of austerity during a crushing economic crisis from which the country is only now slowly recovering, but still hurting.