Athens Transit Strikes Cause Commuter Chaos in Greek Capital

Athens commuters are struggling with another day of traffic chaos as transit workers strike for a third day in protest over government plans to restructure state- run transport companies.

The Athens metro, used by 620,000 Athenians daily, will not operate for a third straight day. City bus and trolley employees are striking for a second consecutive day. Workers from the electric railway service, which runs from the port city of Piraeus to the northern Athens suburb of Kifisia, will hold 24- hour strikes today and tomorrow, according to a statement on the Athens Urban Transportation Organization website.

Government proposals for the restructuring of public transport companies include spending cuts and the merging of public transit bodies, reducing the number from five to two, one for the city’s road network and the other for rail services.

Prime Minister George Papandreou reduced government spending and raised taxes to meet the terms of a 110 billion- euro ($144 billion) bailout from the European Union and International Monetary Fund. In December, Greece’s parliament approved a 10 percent wage cut for employees at state-run companies who earn more than 1,800 euros per month along with a monthly wage cap of 4,000 euros.

Transit workers have held a series of strikes and work stoppages since Dec. 8.

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