The largest private and public sector unions in Greece plan a 24-hour nationwide strike for Wednesday, February 24, canceling all flights to/from/within Greece, bringing the majority of public transport to a halt and closing airports, banks, archaeological sites and museums.
Representing half of Greece’s 5 million work force, private sector union GSEE, communists workers group PAME and public sector union ADEDY are protesting austerity measures that impose tax increases, raise the retirement age and reduce salaries, pensions and benefits. Workers also have a long list of demands that include wage increases, job security and access to free, upgraded health care services.
Nationwide strikes in Greece made headlines on February 10 when the much-hyped 24-hour strike by ADEDY attempted to challenge government authority and “cripple or paralyze” the country. With many sharing the sentiment, “What good does it do to strike when it just means the government gets to keep my pay?,” only 5,000 of one million public sector employees protested in the rainy streets of Athens and Thessaloniki (The Nation).
Farmers ended their month-long blockade on February 16, the same day custom officials began a three-day strike and tax officials canceled walkout for February 17. Custom officials renewed strikes Friday February 19 when taxi drivers and fuel tankers staged a 24-hour protest, but the three rolling, 48-hour strikes intended to last through Wednesday fizzled when workers returned to work even before a court ruled their action illegal.
In a weekend poll by Greek newspaper Ethnos, 57.6 percent of Greeks consider belt-tightening to be going in the right direction, 74.2 percent think the government was too slow to react and 75.8 percent say they oppose strikes during a crisis.
What services are affected?
— All airports closed between 00:00-23:59, all flights canceled: Passengers should have received notification. Anyone who did not should call their airline or travel agent now.
— No ships, some ferry services affected
— No OSE national train service
— No Athens trolleys, no Athens metro (blue/red lines), no Athens tram service: See public transport options below.
— No Proastiakos (suburban railway services): See public transport options below.
— Public utilities will be affected: No specific disruptions announced, but residents and businesses may be subject to rolling strikes, i.e., no electricity, no water, no phone or Internet service.
— Hospitals staffed with emergency personnel only
— All Greek public sector offices, courthouses closed: No transactions or hearings.
— All museums and archaeological sites closed: Tourists should plan visit for Tuesday or wait until Thursday.
— Teachers on strike: Schools closed, though some children have a half day. It’s Greece, it depends.
— Banks in Greece closed
— Greek media blackout: No news broadcasts, no newspapers
— Lawyers in Thessaloniki on strike.
There will also be two scheduled protests in the center of Athens, one at 11:00 in Pedion Areos and another at 12:00 in Omonia Square, which means streets will be closed to traffic.
Public transport options — Partial strikes
— Athens metro, green line (ISAP) will only run between 10:00-16:00
— Buses in Athens (ETHEL) will operate between 7:30-22:00 (best option): They are only striking from 5:00-7:30 and 22:00 to end of shift.
— Buses in Thessaloniki (OASTH) will be on strike between 6:00-20:00: In another words, bus service is only available 4:30-6:00 and 20:00-23:30
— KTEL long-distance buses in Greece made no announcement: Travelers are advised to call in advance.
Olympic Air and Aegean Airlines announce flight cancellations & changes
If you have a flight with Olympic Air or Aegean Airlines, please note that all flights for February 24 are canceled. Anyone with a flight on February 23 may have an altered schedule and is advised to follow the links provided. Both announcements are in English this time and contain contact information.
Flight changes for February 23: OA 147/148, 207/208, 245/246, 266, 463/464, 520/521, 718/719, 918, see “Olympic Air Press Release 22.02.2010.”
Flight changes for February 23: A3 137, 136, 606/607, see “Aegean Airlines Press Release 22.02.2010.”
“Δελτίο Τύπου – 24ωρη Γενική Απεργία στις 24-2-2010 ” — ΓΣΕΕ
“ΑΝΑΚΟΙΝΩΣΗ ΑΠΕΡΓΙΑΣ 24 ΦΛΕΒΑΡΗ” – ΠΑΜΕ
“Απεργία 24 Φεβρουαρίου 2010” — ΑΔΕΔΥ
“Τι αλλάζει στις συγκοινωνίες την Τετάρτη” — Ta Nea
“Πανεργατική απεργία την Τετάρτη” — Eleftherotypia
“Flight cancellations and changes on February 24, 2010” — Olympic Air
“ΟΑΣΘ: Χωρίς λεωφορεία από τις 06:00 εως τις 20:00 την Τετάρτη” (article removed) — Agelioforos.gr
“Με σοβαρά προβλήματα οι μεταφορές την Τετάρτη” (article removed) — Kathimerini
“Nea” — OASA.gr
“«Έμφραγμα» στις μετακινήσεις λόγω της απεργίας” — Ta Nea
“Διαδήλωση – γκάλοπ απέναντι στην ισοπέδωση” — Eleftherotypia
“Teachers on strike February 24” — Eleftherotypia
“Greece to discuss austerity with EU, IMF” — WSJ
“Greeks say belt tightening in right direction- poll” — Reuters
“Greek farmers end blockade in government victory” – Reuters
“Greek customs officials extend strike” — AP (article removed)
“Fuel deliveries may resume as strike wanes” — Kathimerini
“Customs strike in Greece ruled illegal” — Business Week
“Greek taxis halted” — Reuters
Image capture from pamehellas.gr