Greece to come to standstill as unions call 24-hour strike
Ships will remain anchored at ports across Greece and air transport is expected to be disrupted on Thursday after union groups Wednesday called a 24-hour nationwide strike to protest against government privatisation plans, dpa reported.
Hundreds of ships are expected to remain anchored at the ports of Pireaus near Athens and in the northern port city of Thessaloniki while bank and hospital workers will also walk off the job.
The strike by dock workers who fear the privatisation of the nation's ports will lead to job cuts has also been backed by workers at post offices, the Hydro Company and Athens Water Company, where workers will hold work stoppages.
Air transport will also be disrupted as air traffic controllers will hold a four-hour walkout. Greek private company Aegean has cancelled 28 flights, including two international flights to Sofia and Bucharest.
Greece has been hit by back-to-back strikes over the past few months, putting the country in an economic crisis.
Work stoppages by the country's public power corporation have caused energy cuts while dockers' refusal to work overtime has led to a pile up of containers in the ports of Pireaus and Thessaloniki.
Greeks have been forced to queue in huge lines outside petrol stations over the past week for fuel after fuel truck drivers walked off the job demanding higher distribution fees.
The ruling conservative government is planning to sell off stakes in a number of state-run companies in order to lower the country's public debt, including the main commercial ports and Greece's telephone company OTE to Germany's Deutsche Telekom.
The government is currently in talks with the German company to sell a further 3 per cent stake in OTE, raising its holding to more than 20 per cent.