Greek transport workers strike against govt plan

Streamlining public bus and train companies is a key condition in the 110 billion euro ($144.5 billion) EU/IMF bailout for the debt-laden country.

Greek transport workers strike against govt plan

Greek urban transport ground to a halt on Thursday, as bus and metro drivers went on a 24-hour strike to protest against government plans for the restructuring of the country's loss-making state-run transport sector.

Streamlining public bus and train companies is a key condition in the 110 billion euro ($144.5 billion) EU/IMF bailout for the debt-laden country.

The cabinet gave the green light on Wednesday to a bill merging urban transport companies and hiking fares. The bill is expected to become a law next month, as the ruling Socialists have a majority in the 300-seat parliament.

The urban transport operators of Athens are among the country's most loss-making state firms, dogged by decades of mismanagement, high wages and low fares.

The walkout, the latest in a series of on-and-off public transport strikes in the last two months, caused traffic jams in Athens early on Thursday as many had to drive to work.

About 200 demonstrators marched to the finance ministry on Thursday holding banners reading "We resist" and chanting "Hands off transport!".

"We will not back down. We will not allow tickets to become more expensive. We are not asking for money, we just want to talk with the government," said Antonis Stamatopoulos, head of the Athens Metro workers union.

Bus, metro and tram drivers have threatened to carry out yet more strikes in coming weeks to force the government to back away from its reform plans.


Reuters

Last Mod: 13 Ocak 2011, 16:20
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