Protesting Tempi Train Tragedy, Greek Workers Unions Will Strike

ATHENS – Outrage in the wake of a head-on trail collision that killed 57 and revealed years of neglect of safety measures on the railways has driven Greece’s major labor unions to call a general 24-hour strike for March 8.

The Greek Civil Servants’ Confederation announced the nationwide job action and said there would be a mass protest in the capital’s downtown but in Klafthmonos Square, not the main Syntagma Square outside Parliament.

There have been a number of protests already in Athens and the second-largest city Thessaloniki, to where a passenger train carrying 350 people was headed when it ran into an oncoming cargo train.

Police were seen beating back protesters and using tear gas without being provoked, during further fury about aggressive tactics in the midst of mourning and funerals for the victims, many of them young students.

ADEDY said that the stike was being held “to demand – together with all the workers and the people – an end to the policy of privatization, and that the real responsibilities for the murderous crime of the Tempi train crash be attributed” to those responsible, said the state-run Athens-Macedonia News Agency AMNA.

The Panhellenic Seamen’s Federation (PNO) said it would join the strike and keep all ships docked for a day and also demanding to know how the tragedy happened after reports that successive governments didn’t implement safety measures.

The Greek Primary Teachers’ Federation (DOE) members will also walk off the job in the growing anger over the tragedy that’s been directed at the Hellenic Train company and New Democracy government.

DOE noted that “all teachers, together with parents and students, can demonstrate our power and our determination not to remain silent, and to demand that responsibilities be identified without compromises and cover-ups of the truth,” the report also said.

Railworkers have been on strike since the Feb. 28 tragedy after its union had earlier that month said a tragedy was imminent because of a failure to make safety measures and with many signaling and automated systems not working.

Railway workers’ unions said that,”We are fighting for the safe running of trains, but also for the truth to shine and for the culprits of the tragic train accident to be found, regardless of how high up they are.”

Buses and trolleys will also stay put as the Athens Urban Transport Organization’s (OASA) said its members won’t work and the union demanding a safe and modern public transport system.


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