Greek Development Minister Says Public Transport Operating Again

The Athens metro resumed operations today after the government used an emergency decree to halt a week-long strike by public transit workers, Development Minister Kostis Hatzidakis said.

The metro remained shut for a ninth day this morning as striking public transit workers, joined by bus, trolley and suburban rail employees, protested changes to their salary structures designed to bring them in line with other public workers. The government vowed yesterday to use the emergency decree to end the strike, which a Greek court declared illegal on Jan. 21.

“The government has no choice but to apply the single payroll without any exceptions,” Hatzidakis said in a statement broadcast on state-run NET TV. “We are satisfied that the workers have got the trains running again. Commuters will be even more satisfied.”

Greece’s government has implemented budget cuts and economic reforms to tame a fiscal deficit that has led to bailouts from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund. These measures included terminating a deal with metro workers that had put them on a different pay scale than other public employees.

The Pan-Hellenic Seaman’s Union plans to hold a 48-hour strike starting Thursday to protest government policies affecting its members. ADEDY, the public sector workers’ union, said it will also hold a work stoppage the same day.

Former Prime Minister George Papandreou’s government used emergency decrees to end strikes by seamen, truckers and garbage collectors in 2010 and 2011.

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