Greece unions stage 24-hour strike

Public transport in Greece faced major disruption Tuesday as the country’s biggest private-sector trade union called for a 24-hour strike, angry over proposals to lengthen the working week.

Media, including the ANA news agency and ERT public broadcaster, also took part in the industrial action, called by the GSEE trade union to mark the traditional Labour Day or May Day public holiday.

All across the globe, trade unions and labour organisations traditionally hold rallies and marches on May 1 but those in Greece staged their strike three days late because this year’s date coincided with Easter on the Orthodox calendar.

In a statement, the GSEE trade union said that the industrial action was aimed at “protecting the real needs of workers”.

While the Greek government is currently debating a draft law to extend working hours, the union insisted that the five-day, 40-hour week must be respected and overtime pay should be increased. 

“The celebration of this May 1st comes at an unprecedented moment of pandemic and health crisis, which is being used as a pretext to question our collective rights, our working hours, our dignity at work,” media unions said in a joint statement. 

Both the Confederation of Public Employees, ADEDY, as well as the Communist Party called for demonstrations on Thursday against the labour ministry bill. 

Air transport in Greece, particular domestic flights operated by Aegean Airlines, is also expected to be disrupted on Thursday.