Greek Rail and Metro Workers Go on Strike

"Underground station in Piraeus area, Athens, Greece and train running from Pireaus to Monastiraki."

(Greece) – On Wednesday, July 6, 2016 rail and metro workers who are part of the Hellenic Railways Organization, work for the Athens metro, and who also work for the Athens-Piraeus electric railways, will be on strike for all 24 hours of the day. Tram workers were also planning to stage a walkout from 10 AM to 2 PM and again later on in the day. However, representatives weren’t sure when the second walkout would happen.

These strikes are designed as an ongoing attempt to express discontent against the government’s plan to launch privatization deals of their public assets. So far, regional airports, the abandoned airport in Athens, and the Port of Piraeus have all been part of various privatization deals and the rail network is expected to be next.

In order to express their discontent against privatization, workers are expected to do more than just strike. They were also scheduled to protest in front of the TAIPED privatization offices in Athens at 8 AM. Their goal is to get the Greek government to abandon their plans of selling the national rail network to investors.

The rail union representative said in a statement, “Urban transport is the next thing that is being slated for surrender to voracious, profiteering private interests, regardless of the dramatic consequences of such choices on the Greek people. These destructive plans will not pass. Public transport workers will resist.”

Privatization of public assets was one of the conditions the international creditors imposed on Greece before they approved the third bailout. Greece has been in a recession since before the first bailout, which took place in 2010. The country was recently paid the first of the payments for this third bailout.

The funds were badly needed so that Greece could pay loan balances due to the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund. The international creditors have said that Greece needs to reduce spending and increase revenue coming in. The austerity measures, tax hikes, pension and salary decreases, and privatization measures have been largely controversial and have led to strikes such as these.

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