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Society

In Labor Union Protest, Transport Strike Snarls Athens Traffic (Vid & Pics)

February 19, 2020

ATHENS – Workers and commuters faced another rough day Feb. 18 when Greek labor unions held a 24-hour strike that shut down most forms of public transport, creating another monster traffic jam in the Greek capital.

Buses, trolleys, trams, the metro and electric railway shut down as part of the action called by the umbrella civil servant’s union ADEDY against a New Democracy government social security bill, the latest in hundreds of protests over the last decade against austerity measures that failed to make any government pull back most measures.

Members of the communist-backed labor union PAME shout slogans during a rally in Athens, Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2020. A 24-hour strike in Greece has halted ferries, public transport, and municipal services in Athens and other parts of the country, as unions mounted protests against pension reforms by the center-right government. (AP Photo/Yorgos Karahalis)

The Athens suburban railway (Proastiakos) and intercity trains, which wasn’t expected to be affected by the strike had a sudden change of plans however, although it’s operated by the company TrainOSE, which manages them under privatization, acquired by the Italian national railway company, Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane.

Commuters in Athens were stranded on train platforms when TrainOSE unexpectedly announced that the Athens suburban railway (Proastiakos) and intercity trains would not operate because of the “sudden, unannounced” strike of railway employees at the main train depot in Athens.

Speaking to radio station SKAI, Trainose CEO Filipos Tsalidis said that drivers were waiting to depart when railway employees took over the platform in the Rendi train station, where all trains depart from.

The announced participation of Athens buses, trolleys, metro and tram employees to the strike forced traffic police to lift restrictions on vehicles entering downtown, which is done on an odd-even basis based on license plates, only adding to the congestion of a traffic free-for-all.

ADEDY also planned a morning protest rally at Klafthmonos Square in the city center while the Athens Labor Center and the Communist-affiliated trade union PAME planned separate rallies elsewhere.

Public hospitals will operate on skeleton staff, as the union of hospitals workers (POEDIN) also joined the strike as did ferry boat workers at Piraeus, Lavrio and Rafina, along with five seamen’s unions, led by the Panhellenic Union of Merchant Navy Seamen (PENEN).

That shut off travel to islands for passengers and for goods that are taken there, leaving passengers stranded for the day. There was no report on whether the strikers would be paid for not working, which has also happened before on some occasions.

(Material from the Associated Press was used in this report)

(Material from the Associated Press was used in this report)

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