Despite the breaking of a Metro strike that quelled unrest for a time, the Greek government is bracing for a 24-hour strike of transport and health care workers on Jan. 31 to protest government plans to reform the sectors.
The strike will shut down ferries, buses and trains. The union representing employees at the Public Power Corporation also join in while municipal employees will stage a four-hour walkout. Pay cuts, tax hikes and slashed pensions while rich Greeks and tax evaders have escaped sacrifice has enraged Greeks and caused a record 26.8 percent unemployment.
Tensions rose at the Ministry of Labor on Jan. 30 when a group of about 30 Communist-affiliated PAME unionists stormed the office of Labor Minister Yiannis Vroutsis and occupied it for a time. The protesters clashed with riot police who retaliated by firing tear gas into the crowd. One unionist was reportedly injured. Plans to restructure the health sector will result in the closure of dozens of departments and salary cuts of around 20 per cent.