Trade unions in Greece have called for a 24-hour general strike on Thursday against a new labor bill currently being discussed in Parliament.
The strike is supported by major unions, including PAME, Civil Servants’ Confederation (ADEDY), Federation of Secondary State School Teachers (OLME), Maritime Workers’ Union (PENEN), and Federation of Public Hospital Employees, which maintain the new legislation would undermine workers’ rights and conditions.
Public sector employees, including transport workers, air traffic controllers, health professionals, and teachers, will participate in the nationwide industrial action. Rallies and demonstrations are planned in several cities, including Athens and Thessaloniki.
Public transport will be disrupted following the strike in Greece
Athens and Thessaloniki are bracing for travel chaos on Thursday. Athens Metro Lines 2 and 3 (red and blue) will run from the start of the shift until 13:30 on Thursday, Urban Rail Transport (STASY) announced on Wednesday.
Trolleys will run from 09:00 through 21:00, trams will only run from the start of the shift until 13:30, while Athens Suburban Railway (Proastiakos) trains will stop running at 21:00.
Buses will run normally after an Athens court called the drivers’ strike illegal.
Ship workers, hospital staff, and doctors are also participating in the strike, as are school teachers.
ADEDY has also called a rally at Klafthmonos Square at 10:30 am, while another one will be held by PAME, the labor union affiliated with the Communist Party, at Syntagma Square at the same time.
Strike against labor law
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ conservative government plans to relax labor laws in various ways, including making working hours more flexible.
The plans include obliging people to work on a Saturday or Sunday and receive an additional 40 percent of the daily wage for the sixth working day.
They also include the introduction of employment on demand, making it possible for an employer to call an employee 24 hours in advance and make them work.
The law would allow workers to take on a second job with another employer for up to five hours a day in addition to the eight regular working hours.
The unions criticize the law for watering down the eight-hour day and the five-day week.
“The new draft law imposes 13 hours of work per day and 78 hours of work per week. It abolishes breaks at work and weekends,” said the Merchant Marine Union.
The umbrella organization of public sector unions, ADEDY, also fears a criminalization of trade union activities because the new law imposes fines of up to $5,349, knowing that the strikers could prevent other workers from going to work.