A wave of strikes that will bring Greece to a near stand still is underway. The 48 hour general strike planned for Wednesday and Thursday has been preceeded with a strike that began Monday which will prevent any ships or ferries from sailing.
The headline on one of the lead stories in Monday’s Athens News reads “Tripoli celebrates capture of Gaddafi’s son.” With a feeling of déjà vu I open the article to discover old news: the journalists’ union Esiea called a 72 hour strike beginning Saturday evening.
Nevertheless the paper publishes a very handy ‘strike guide’ which highlights this weeks expected disruptions. A 48 hour general strike has been called for Wednesday and Thursday which Ekathimerini reports will involve industrial action in hospitals, schools, and government offices. Getting in early are customs officials who will strike Monday, along with the Panhellenic Seamen's Federation which began strike action at 6.00am Monday, meaning no ships or ferries will sail from Greek ports or harbors for 48 hours. Transport strikes are expected, including rail strikes and further action by taxi drivers. Flights will be stopped as air traffic controllers are due to join the general strike.
The tax collectors are having another week long strike which will hamper the efforts of the government to collect the additional taxes they are imposing. The Hellenic Telecommunications union is staging a 24 hour strike on Wednesday but it has not been announced if the strike will result in the plug being pulled on country’s Internet access. Banks will strike on Monday and Wednesday.
Riot police are standing guard at the Fyli landfill site in case thegarbage strikers resort to violence as private refuse collectors have been brought in to clear the tons of uncollected rubbish.
Limited transport will be available in Athens during the 48 hour general strike, in order to transport protesters to the center of the city. This could be hampered though if the customs strike is extended as it will disrupt petrol supplies.
Strike action will inevitably have a knock on effect on the tourist industry, leaving visitors unable to get into or out of strike hampered Greece.