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In Greece – a general strike, the French and Italians, who did not achieve results in previous strikes, also do not work.
A nationwide 24-hour strike completely paralyzed Greek life on Wednesday. Public transport does not work in the country (except for the metro, which delivers protesters to the city center), government agencies and even hospitals, assistance is provided only in emergency cases. Does not broadcast radio and television. Another strike is also taking place in France, and a strike by Italian truckers is now threatening the life and health of citizens.
The start of a general 24-hour strike, whose participants oppose government reform in the field of labor law, was announced by two of the country’s largest unions – the General Confederation of Workers (GSEE) and the Federation of Employees (ADEDY).
Public transport does not work in the country, most ferry services are not carried out, ships anchored between mainland Greece and the islands are anchored. Athens International Airport air traffic controllers accept only military, government and medical aircraft. Other flights canceled or rescheduled.
Also closed are all government agencies, including banks, schools and enterprises, the agency said. Doctors in hospitals work only to the extent that emergency cases can be discussed. Televisions and radios were silent, and no newspapers would be released on Thursday.
Even representatives of the private business sector have joined the strikes.
Strikers protest against government reforms that are designed to resolve the impending crisis in the insurance system. According to the forecasts of officials, the existing system of insurance and pension payments in 15 years should come to a complete collapse due to the rapid growth of liabilities and a reduction in payments.
Accordingly, trade unions are afraid of a possible increase in the retirement age (now it is 60 for women and 65 for men), increase in pension contributions and the elimination of professional benefits and payments.
“On Wednesday, the country will be paralyzed,” we quote the representative of the country’s largest trade union association, the General Confederation of Labor of Greece, Efstafios Anestis. “This is the only way for workers to show their opposition to government decisions.”
According to surveys that were conducted before the event, about a third of the Greeks were going to take part in rallies and other public actions that take place as part of the strike.
Spyros Papaspiros, president of the Federation of Private Sector Workers, representing more than 2.5 million people together with VKTG, said he expects about 100,000 people to attend the rally in Athens, the agency said. So that people could get to the places of protest rallies, the metro worked until 15:00. The city center is blocked in connection with the holding of thousands of demonstrations.
The wave of protests on Wednesday swept not only Greece. The French transport workers, who did not achieve the result of past strikes, again staged a strike to put pressure on trade union and government negotiations.
The one-day strike, although not as large as in November, still paralyzed the transport system of Paris.
Members of only one trade union did not go to work, the rest considered the protest to be premature, the agency said. The Paris Transport Authority (RATP) predicts that on Wednesday, 60% of metro and suburban trains, 80% of trams and buses will go to the capital.
Transport workers still demand that special retirement conditions be maintained for employees of large state-owned companies.
On Tuesday, Italian truckers began a strike, and despite the persuasion of the Romano Prodi government, it was decided to extend it until Friday. The losses that the strike will bring are already calculated – 5 billion euros.
There are huge traffic jams across the country that the police cannot handle. Moreover – the majority of gas stations do not work, and not only motorists, but also stores where products are not delivered suffer from this. Instead of joyful Christmas shopping, Italians admire empty shelves and buy up everything that remains. The situation is aggravating every hour: interruptions in fuel began even in ambulances.
According to union representatives, the strike is “a gesture of despair due to the instability of the sector, which suffers from a lack of control and a unified management policy.” In addition, drivers ask for an increase in salaries.
The last time Italian transport workers went on strike recently. The events of November 30, the press dubbed “Black Friday” by analogy with “Black Thursday”, which happened in Paris.