On Wednesday, public transportation workers in Athens went on strike for the second time in a week, ahead of a parliamentary vote on a bill that the government claims will modernize archaic labor laws, but unions worry will result in longer hours and weakened rights.
Ships stayed docked, and many bus, subway, and railway services were halted as transportation workers went on strike. Workers from various industries staged work stoppages, and multiple protest rallies were planned in central Athens ahead of the bill’s passage later on Wednesday.
The draft law has been dubbed a “monstrosity” by trade unions. They want the government to remove the measure, which they claim will undo long-standing worker rights and allow businesses to hire more people by sneaking in longer hours.
The bill’s most contentious provision permits employees to work up to 10 hours on one day and less on the next. Unions are concerned that this may allow businesses to compel workers to work longer hours.
Workers would be able to disconnect outside of office hours, and a “digital work card” would be introduced next year to track employees’ working hours in real time, as well as boost permissible overtime to 150 hours per year.