Posted on Al Jazeera:
Workers in Greece are staging a 24-hour nationwide strike as unions called for protests against the latest round of austerity measures.
Trains ground to a halt and hospitals worked with emergency staff as strikers took action against plans to fire thousands of public sector employees.
Representing about 2.5 million workers, private sector union GSEE and public sector union ADEDY have brought workers to the streets repeatedly since Greece slid into a debt crisis in late 2009.
The latest strike comes a day before a parliamentary vote on Wednesday on reforms Athens agreed with its European Union and International Monetary Fund lenders as a condition for $8.9bn in aid.
Among the measures included in the bill are job cuts for teachers, municipal police and local government posts.
Flights to and from Athens were disrupted as civil aviation unions staged a four-hour work stoppage in solidarity.
City transport was also affected, with bus and trolley bus drivers holding work stoppages in the morning and in the evening.
Trains stopped running and tax offices and municipal services remain shut.
Al Jazeera's John Psaropoulos, reporting from Athens, said that there are abo
ut 10,000 poeple on the streets protesting against austerity measures, adding that public transport unions did not attend the rally and public transport is working normally in Athens.
Psaropoulos said that unions connected to tourism were particularly on strike, which led buses to stop operations and flights to be cancelled or delayed.
"It's an attempt to hurt government where it hurts. In other words, in the tourism industry which is actually going relatively well this year," he said.
"But the real pain to be felt here is among municipal and local government workers, about 8,000 of whom expect to lose their jobs over the next six months.
"What the unions are trying to say now is these thousands of jobs that will go, may turn into ten thousands of jobs very quickly.
"They do not trust the government, they think they are eroding workers rights, that is why this is something that should concern public sector as well as the private sector," our correspondent said.