Greek Strike Disrupts Urban, Air And Sea Transport

Reuters, Thursday 7 December 2000, 8:40 AM ET

ATHENS (Reuters)—Greek urban and sea transport ground to a halt on Thursday and air and rail schedules were cut back to minimum as transport workers and civil servants walked out to protest against labor reforms.

Thousands of protesting workers marched through Athens to parliament, where a controversial labor law was being debated, shouting anti-government slogans.

The General Confederation of Greek Workers (GSEE), Greece's largest labor grouping, and its public sector sister ADEDY staged the 24-hour action, which also affected ministries, banks and the press.

A sea of yellow taxis filled Athens to help make up for striking urban buses, trolleys and the underground metro.

Olympic Airways flew only one flight per destination, inter-city trains cut back schedules and ships were docked at ports around the country.

“Planes are flying without delays but most scheduled flights had been canceled. There is only one flight for each internal destination and only one flight for each country abroad,” the airport flight manager said.

The law being considered by parliament this week—and almost certain to be enacted—includes reforms such as easier group dismissals by corporations and flexible working hours, and falls short of satisfying labor demands for a 35-hour week without a reduction in pay.

The government said the bill aims at modernizing the Greek labor market and boosting employment.

The last general strike that caused significant disruption in Athens took place on October 10. The last public sector strike in the capital city was staged on November 28.