Aircraft grounded as Greece's Olympic Airlines cancels flights

Aircraft grounded as Greece's Olympic Airlines cancels flights Athens - Greek state carrier Olympic Airlines cancelled more than 100 domestic and international flights on Wednesday as air- traffic controllers and crews joined a nationwide 24-hour strike against government plans to privatize the airline.

The cancellations will affect flights to European destinations such as London, Rome, Paris and Frankfurt as well as some domestic flights.

Urban transport also came to a standstill in major cities as the country's largest union, GSEE, which includes workers at some privatised companies, called the nationwide strike.

Buses, trolley buses and trams will also be disrupted as employees stage numerous work stoppages throughout the day.

Aside from airport staff, dockers, post office employees and workers at the national railway also joined in the strike to protest plans to privatize companies such as state carrier Olympic Airlines and protest labour reforms which are likely to target pension benefits.

Workers at partially-privatized telecommunication company OTE, the state-run Public Power Corporation, state hospital employees and print and broadcast journalists will also walk off the job for a few hours.

Unions are expected to rally through Athens and the northern port city of Thessaloniki at noon.

Last month, the Greek government launched a tender to sell off the ailing airline, saying it would find new public sector jobs for its workers, but union leaders have pledged to halt the privatization.

Union officials have said they will hold talks with union leaders from Italy's Alitalia to find ways of extending the protest.

The conservative government, under the leadership of Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, said it will push forward with reforms and privatizations despite union opposition. (dpa)

Business News: