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Athens paralysed by transport strikes

Wednesday, September 28, 2011 - 01:43

Bus, metro and tram operators join rail workers and taxi drivers as a transport strike brings Athens to a standstill. Simon Hanna reports.

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Gridlock on the streets of Athens Wednesday, as widespread transport strikes bring the Greek capital to a standstill. There's no public transport as bus, metro, tram and rail workers joined taxi drivers in striking for a fourth day. With stations closed across Athens, residents had to use their own vehicles instead of public transport, causing citywide traffic jams. (SOUNDBITE) (Greek) ATHENS RESIDENT, GEORGE ALEXIOU: "Usually it takes me 15 to 20 minutes, but today it took me an hour. It's very difficult." The striking workers are angry over wage cuts and job layoffs. The cutbacks come as the government attempts to meet the demands of international lenders to secure a tranche of fresh financial aid. On Tuesday the Greek parliament passed an unpopular property tax, which residents will have to pay through their electricity bills. (SOUNDBITE) (Greek) ATHENS RESIDENT, MARIA MAMUSIATO: "I think it's very bad that they voted for this because people are literally hungry. I am not exaggerating. They really are hungry. How can people pay 600 euros for this tax when their pension is 400 or 500 euros." Taxi drivers, who have staged a series of strikes since the summer, held a rally outside the Ministry of Transport. Around 1,000 demonstrators surrounded the building in protest at government plans to open their profession to competition. The removal of restrictions on so called "closed professions" such as taxi drivers, is another one of the terms Greece must meet to receive more bailout funds from the EU and IMF. Simon Hanna, Reuters.

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Athens paralysed by transport strikes

Wednesday, September 28, 2011 - 01:43

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