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Acropolis of Athens Employees Go On Strike During Heatwave

Greece parthenon made by Greeks
Staff working at the Acropolis of Athens are going on strike due to the heatwave. Credit: Barcex / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

The union representing Acropolis staff has announced that they will initiate a strike starting from Thursday due to soaring temperatures caused by the ongoing heatwave. The reason behind this protest is their objection to being compelled to work under extreme conditions with temperatures reaching 45 degrees Celsius.

In order to advocate for the well-being of both the security staff and visitors, employees at the renowned Greek tourist attraction will refrain from working for five hours each day, commencing at 12 pm.

Last Friday, the iconic hill in Athens, known for housing the Parthenon temple and attracting millions of holidaymakers annually, had to close its doors for three days due to the scorching heat. However,  the site has been reopened on Monday after the brief closure.

Acropolis of Athens workers strike over heatwave

“Given the problems we have faced … in recent days, measures have been unanimously decided,” said the PEYFA union, which represents the striking staff who work at the iconic ancient Greek site in Athens.

As previously mentioned, the Culture Ministry announced that the Acropolis will operate on reduced hours and will be closed from 12 noon until 5 in the afternoon due to the soaring temperatures.

Many tourists visiting the Acropolis could be seen using parasols and fans, and some used guidebooks to provide shelter from the relentless sun. The Hellenic Red Cross has put up big shade tents to protect the crowds and is handing out thousands of free bottles of water.

A tourist visiting the Acropolis collapsed from heat exposure. She was transferred to a local hospital for treatment.

The archaeological sites of Ancient Agora and the Kerameikos will remain in operation, where it is possible to visit the Archaeological Museums there, the ministry reportedly added.

Temperatures in Athens are forecast to reach up to 41-43C, on Saturday, July 15, 2023, so similar measures may apply too.

Greece grapples with soaring temperatures

Greece’s state mechanism has been placed on high alert to deal with a heatwave dubbed Kleon which is expected to push temperatures up to 43C (109F) in some parts of the country.

According to the meteorologists, the most difficult days will be Friday and Saturday, and according to the latest forecast, the high temperatures will continue into next week.

The Health Ministry has noted that the elderly, infants and young children, pregnant and breastfeeding women, people who are overweight or obese, as well as people who work or exercise intensively in hot environments are at greatest risk.

Greece has also had to grapple with wildfires amidst the heatwave. Hundreds of firefighters have been battling the flames at Dervenochoria, west of Athens, which, according to the fire service is the most difficult due to the dense forest vegetation and the inaccessible nature of the area.

The blaze, which broke out on Monday about 30 km north of Athens, spread fast as it was fanned by erratic winds and reached Mandra on Tuesday, burning houses and forcing people to flee.

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