Public transportation in Athens will be staggered on June 13 as transport workers join a strike called by the country’s largest labor unions representing public and private workers in the aftermath of the government’s decision to shut down the public broadcaster ERT.
Intercity trains will not be running, while some evening services were also cancelled on June 12 during a 24-hour general strike workers organized by the unions GSEE and ADEDY. Services on the suburban railway known as Proastiakos will also be halted during the strike
The Athens metro and the Kifissia-Piraeus electric railway (ISAP) will operate from 9 a.m. onwards. Blue buses and trolley will halt services throughout the day. Air traffic controllers will walk off the job from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on June 13.
The Athens Journalists’ Union (ESIEA) called a 48-hour strike from 6 a.m. on June 12 of TV and radio stations to protest the closure of ERT and the loss of more than 2,600 jobs. The government said 1000-1200 would be rehired and back to work by the end of August on a new, pared-down operation to be called NERIT SA, which stands for New Hellenic Radio Internet and Television.
ESIEA said newspaper journalists would strike on June 13 for 24 hours. There was also a six-hour stoppage on TV and radio on June 11 after the government announced it would closing ERT and later opening a new broadcaster with fewer employees.
Despite the signal to ERT’s TV channels being lost shortly after 11 p.m. on Tuesday, employees at the broadcasters headquarters in Athens and Thessaloniki refused to leave the buildings and managed to resume broadcasts via digital TV and the Internet.
The Communist Party (KKE) also offered the frequency of its TV station, 902, to rebroadcast ERT’s programs. Thousands of people protesting the broadcaster’s closure had gathered outside ERT’s headquarters in northeastern Athens.
A number of political leaders, including SYRIZA’s Alexis Tsipras and Independent Greeks’ Panos Kammenos, visited the building to express their solidarity with the protestors.
The European Federation of Journalists condemned the decision to shut down ERT. “These plans are simply absurd,” said EFJ president Mogens Blicher-Bjerregård. “It will be a major blow to democracy, to media pluralism and to journalism as a public good in Greece, thus depriving citizens from their right to honest, level-headed and unbiased information. But it will also mean the loss of many journalists’ jobs across the country.”