Greek strikes bring country to a standstill for second time in two weeks

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Private sector workers in Greece have caused havoc as transport links, the finance sector and media agencies walked off the job on Wednesday for the second time in two weeks. This 24-hour nationwide strike is in protest against labour reforms planned by the country’s recently-elected conservative government.

Athens airport services and railways in and beyond the capital were severely affected.

Ferries serving islands also stopped their service and the journalists’ union announced a media shutdown for the duration of the strike.

A rally in Athens city centre caused large traffic jams throughout the city. Protesters marched through the city chanting “Hands off strikes, hands off unions!” The rally was organized by GSEE, Greece’s largest union, which represents around 2.5 million workers.

The unions have accused the government of trying to control or weaken them.

“Once again, the few on strike inconvenienced the many,” said Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis. The conservative politician claims that the new regulations would encourage greater investment and allow economic growth beyond 2%.

The bill is also aimed to tackle unemployment, which currently sits at 17%, the highest of any Eurozone country.

The proposed law would also require a turnout of more than 50% at any future strike action for it to be valid.

The controversial bill will be discussed in parliament later in the month.

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