Wave of Strikes Bring Greece to a Standstill



Greek Trade Unions are escalating their opposition to a series of reforms required for a third bailout review staging a series of strikes that would paralyze Athens and other cities on Monday.

Timed to coincide with a parliamentary vote on the controversial bill, transport unions have called for a strike on Athens metro, trolley buses, trams and buses.

Athens Flights will be cancelled between noon and 3 p.m. local time as air-traffic control undertakes a three-hour stoppage.

Forty-eight flights across Aegean Air and Olympic Air domestic and international routes will be affected.

The union GSEE has called for a rally in central Athens on Monday evening against the proposed changes to a 36-year-old industrial action law demanded by the country’s creditors.

It said the bill “deals a killing blow to workers, pensioners and the unemployed … effectively eliminating even constitutionally safeguarded rights such as the right to strike”.

The amendment to a 1982 law sets a higher worker participation requirement for strikes to be decided at primary union assemblies, raising the participation threshold from as low as 20% to at least 50% of paying union members.

GSEE says the change will affect “99% of future strikes”, though there is speculation that unions may find ways to bypass the rules as they have done with prior attempts to limit strikes.

The bill pending approval in parliament on Monday will also reduce family benefits and introduce a new process for foreclosures on overdue loans.

Reforms contained in a 400-article, 1,326-page bill are needed for the country to complete a third review of its bailout program.


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