Greek unions strike, seek return to pre-pandemic work rules

Protesters take part in a rally during a 24-hour labor strike, in Athens, Thursday, June 10, 2021. Widespread strikes in Greece brought public transport and other services to a halt Thursday, as the country's largest labor unions protested against employment reforms they argue will make flexible workplace changes introduced during the pandemic more permanent. (AP Photo/Michael Varaklas)
Caption
Protesters take part in a rally during a 24-hour labor strike, in Athens, Thursday, June 10, 2021. Widespread strikes in Greece brought public transport and other services to a halt Thursday, as the country's largest labor unions protested against employment reforms they argue will make flexible workplace changes introduced during the pandemic more permanent. (AP Photo/Michael Varaklas)

Credit: Michael Varaklas

Credit: Michael Varaklas

Widespread strikes in Greece have brought public transport and other services to a halt as the country’s largest labor unions protested employment reforms they argue will make flexible workplace changes introduced during the pandemic more permanent

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Widespread strikes in Greece brought public transport and other services to a halt Thursday as the country’s largest labor unions protested employment reforms they argue will make flexible workplace changes introduced during the pandemic more permanent.

The 24-hour protest also disrupted public hospitals and ferry services to the Greek islands.

Large demonstrations were held in Athens and Thessaloniki, Greece's second-largest city, as well as other cities and towns. No violence was reported.

Greece’s center-right government says the draft legislation currently being debated in parliament will allow greater flexibility within the work week and also modernize regulations to grant new fathers longer paternity leave.

Opponents, including the main left-wing opposition party that is backing the strikes, have accused the government of using coronavirus lockdowns as a pretext to further erode longstanding work rights and legal protections for employees. They fear it will allow employers to get out of paying overtime and to set schedules that are disruptive to workers' lives.

The reforms are expected to be voted on in parliament next week.

Protesters take part in a rally during a 24-hour labor strike, in Athens, Thursday, June 10, 2021. Widespread strikes in Greece brought public transport and other services to a halt Thursday, as the country's largest labor unions protested against employment reforms they argue will make flexible workplace changes introduced during the pandemic more permanent. (AP Photo/Michael Varaklas)
Caption
Protesters take part in a rally during a 24-hour labor strike, in Athens, Thursday, June 10, 2021. Widespread strikes in Greece brought public transport and other services to a halt Thursday, as the country's largest labor unions protested against employment reforms they argue will make flexible workplace changes introduced during the pandemic more permanent. (AP Photo/Michael Varaklas)

Credit: Michael Varaklas

Credit: Michael Varaklas

A protester raises a flag of the Greek communist party-affiliated PAME labor union during a rally in Athens, Thursday, June 10, 2021. Widespread strikes in Greece brought public transport and other services to a halt Thursday, as the country's largest labor unions protested against employment reforms they argue will make flexible workplace changes introduced during the pandemic more permanent. (AP Photo/Michael Varaklas)
Caption
A protester raises a flag of the Greek communist party-affiliated PAME labor union during a rally in Athens, Thursday, June 10, 2021. Widespread strikes in Greece brought public transport and other services to a halt Thursday, as the country's largest labor unions protested against employment reforms they argue will make flexible workplace changes introduced during the pandemic more permanent. (AP Photo/Michael Varaklas)

Credit: Michael Varaklas

Credit: Michael Varaklas

A man rides his motorcycle during a 24-hour labour strike at the port of Piraeus, near Athens, Thursday, June 10, 2021. Greece's biggest labor unions stage a 24-hour strike to protest a draft labor bill being debated in parliament, which workers say will erode their rights. (AP Photo/Michael Varaklas)
Caption
A man rides his motorcycle during a 24-hour labour strike at the port of Piraeus, near Athens, Thursday, June 10, 2021. Greece's biggest labor unions stage a 24-hour strike to protest a draft labor bill being debated in parliament, which workers say will erode their rights. (AP Photo/Michael Varaklas)

Credit: Michael Varaklas

Credit: Michael Varaklas

Protesters block the entrance of a passenger ferry during a 24-hour labour strike at the port of Piraeus, near Athens, Thursday, June 10, 2021. Greece's biggest labor unions stage a 24-hour strike to protest a draft labor bill being debated in parliament, which workers say will erode their rights. (AP Photo/Michael Varaklas)
Caption
Protesters block the entrance of a passenger ferry during a 24-hour labour strike at the port of Piraeus, near Athens, Thursday, June 10, 2021. Greece's biggest labor unions stage a 24-hour strike to protest a draft labor bill being debated in parliament, which workers say will erode their rights. (AP Photo/Michael Varaklas)

Credit: Michael Varaklas

Credit: Michael Varaklas

Passengers make their way during a 24-hour labour strike at the port of Piraeus, near Athens, Thursday, June 10, 2021. Greece's biggest labor unions stage a 24-hour strike to protest a draft labor bill being debated in parliament, which workers say will erode their rights. (AP Photo/Michael Varaklas)
Caption
Passengers make their way during a 24-hour labour strike at the port of Piraeus, near Athens, Thursday, June 10, 2021. Greece's biggest labor unions stage a 24-hour strike to protest a draft labor bill being debated in parliament, which workers say will erode their rights. (AP Photo/Michael Varaklas)

Credit: Michael Varaklas

Credit: Michael Varaklas

A man jogs during a 24-hour labour strike at the port of Piraeus, near Athens, Thursday, June 10, 2021. Greece's biggest labor unions stage a 24-hour strike to protest a draft labor bill being debated in parliament, which workers say will erode their rights. (AP Photo/Michael Varaklas)
Caption
A man jogs during a 24-hour labour strike at the port of Piraeus, near Athens, Thursday, June 10, 2021. Greece's biggest labor unions stage a 24-hour strike to protest a draft labor bill being debated in parliament, which workers say will erode their rights. (AP Photo/Michael Varaklas)

Credit: Michael Varaklas

Credit: Michael Varaklas

A passenger walks past protesters blocking the entrance of a passenger ferry during a 24-hour labour strike at the port of Piraeus, near Athens, Thursday, June 10, 2021. Greece's biggest labor unions stage a 24-hour strike to protest a draft labor bill being debated in parliament, which workers say will erode their rights. (AP Photo/Michael Varaklas)
Caption
A passenger walks past protesters blocking the entrance of a passenger ferry during a 24-hour labour strike at the port of Piraeus, near Athens, Thursday, June 10, 2021. Greece's biggest labor unions stage a 24-hour strike to protest a draft labor bill being debated in parliament, which workers say will erode their rights. (AP Photo/Michael Varaklas)

Credit: Michael Varaklas

Credit: Michael Varaklas

Protesters block the entrance of a passenger ship during a 24-hour labour strike at the port of Piraeus, near Athens, Thursday, June 10, 2021. Greece's biggest labor unions stage a 24-hour strike to protest a draft labor bill being debated in parliament, which workers say will erode their rights. (AP Photo/Michael Varaklas)
Caption
Protesters block the entrance of a passenger ship during a 24-hour labour strike at the port of Piraeus, near Athens, Thursday, June 10, 2021. Greece's biggest labor unions stage a 24-hour strike to protest a draft labor bill being debated in parliament, which workers say will erode their rights. (AP Photo/Michael Varaklas)

Credit: Michael Varaklas

Credit: Michael Varaklas

Passengers stand at the entrance of a ship which is blocked by protesters during a 24-hour labour strike at the port of Piraeus, near Athens, Thursday, June 10, 2021. Greece's biggest labor unions stage a 24-hour strike to protest a draft labor bill being debated in parliament, which workers say will erode their rights. (AP Photo/Michael Varaklas)
Caption
Passengers stand at the entrance of a ship which is blocked by protesters during a 24-hour labour strike at the port of Piraeus, near Athens, Thursday, June 10, 2021. Greece's biggest labor unions stage a 24-hour strike to protest a draft labor bill being debated in parliament, which workers say will erode their rights. (AP Photo/Michael Varaklas)

Credit: Michael Varaklas

Credit: Michael Varaklas

A homeless man sleeps outside a closed entrance of Syntagma metro station during a 24-hour labour strike in Athens, Thursday, June 10, 2021. Greece's biggest labor unions stage a 24-hour strike to protest a draft labor bill being debated in parliament, which workers say will erode their rights. (AP Photo/Michael Varaklas)
Caption
A homeless man sleeps outside a closed entrance of Syntagma metro station during a 24-hour labour strike in Athens, Thursday, June 10, 2021. Greece's biggest labor unions stage a 24-hour strike to protest a draft labor bill being debated in parliament, which workers say will erode their rights. (AP Photo/Michael Varaklas)

Credit: Michael Varaklas

Credit: Michael Varaklas

Protesters shout slogans as they take part in a rally during a 24-hour labor strike, in Athens, Thursday, June 10, 2021. Widespread strikes in Greece brought public transport and other services to a halt Thursday, as the country's largest labor unions protested against employment reforms they argue will make flexible workplace changes introduced during the pandemic more permanent. (AP Photo/Michael Varaklas)
Caption
Protesters shout slogans as they take part in a rally during a 24-hour labor strike, in Athens, Thursday, June 10, 2021. Widespread strikes in Greece brought public transport and other services to a halt Thursday, as the country's largest labor unions protested against employment reforms they argue will make flexible workplace changes introduced during the pandemic more permanent. (AP Photo/Michael Varaklas)

Credit: Michael Varaklas

Credit: Michael Varaklas

Protesters take part in a rally during a 24-hour labor strike, in front of the parliament in Athens, Thursday, June 10, 2021. Widespread strikes in Greece brought public transport and other services to a halt Thursday, as the country's largest labor unions protested against employment reforms they argue will make flexible workplace changes introduced during the pandemic more permanent. (AP Photo/Michael Varaklas)
Caption
Protesters take part in a rally during a 24-hour labor strike, in front of the parliament in Athens, Thursday, June 10, 2021. Widespread strikes in Greece brought public transport and other services to a halt Thursday, as the country's largest labor unions protested against employment reforms they argue will make flexible workplace changes introduced during the pandemic more permanent. (AP Photo/Michael Varaklas)

Credit: Michael Varaklas

Credit: Michael Varaklas

Supporters of the Greek communist party-affiliated PAME labor union march during a rally in Athens, Thursday, June 10, 2021. Widespread strikes in Greece brought public transport and other services to a halt Thursday, as the country's largest labor unions protested against employment reforms they argue will make flexible workplace changes introduced during the pandemic more permanent. (AP Photo/Michael Varaklas)
Caption
Supporters of the Greek communist party-affiliated PAME labor union march during a rally in Athens, Thursday, June 10, 2021. Widespread strikes in Greece brought public transport and other services to a halt Thursday, as the country's largest labor unions protested against employment reforms they argue will make flexible workplace changes introduced during the pandemic more permanent. (AP Photo/Michael Varaklas)

Credit: Michael Varaklas

Credit: Michael Varaklas

Supporters of the Greek communist party-affiliated PAME labor union march in front of the parliament, in Athens, Thursday, June 10, 2021. Widespread strikes in Greece brought public transport and other services to a halt Thursday, as the country's largest labor unions protested against employment reforms they argue will make flexible workplace changes introduced during the pandemic more permanent. (AP Photo/Michael Varaklas)
Caption
Supporters of the Greek communist party-affiliated PAME labor union march in front of the parliament, in Athens, Thursday, June 10, 2021. Widespread strikes in Greece brought public transport and other services to a halt Thursday, as the country's largest labor unions protested against employment reforms they argue will make flexible workplace changes introduced during the pandemic more permanent. (AP Photo/Michael Varaklas)

Credit: Michael Varaklas

Credit: Michael Varaklas

Protesters march to the parliament during a 24-hour labor strike in Athens, Thursday, June 10, 2021. Widespread strikes in Greece brought public transport and other services to a halt Thursday, as the country's largest labor unions protested against employment reforms they argue will make flexible workplace changes introduced during the pandemic more permanent. (AP Photo/Michael Varaklas)
Caption
Protesters march to the parliament during a 24-hour labor strike in Athens, Thursday, June 10, 2021. Widespread strikes in Greece brought public transport and other services to a halt Thursday, as the country's largest labor unions protested against employment reforms they argue will make flexible workplace changes introduced during the pandemic more permanent. (AP Photo/Michael Varaklas)

Credit: Michael Varaklas

Credit: Michael Varaklas

Protesters march to the parliament during a 24-hour labor strike in Athens, Thursday, June 10, 2021. Widespread strikes in Greece brought public transport and other services to a halt Thursday, as the country's largest labor unions protested against employment reforms they argue will make flexible workplace changes introduced during the pandemic more permanent. (AP Photo/Michael Varaklas)
Caption
Protesters march to the parliament during a 24-hour labor strike in Athens, Thursday, June 10, 2021. Widespread strikes in Greece brought public transport and other services to a halt Thursday, as the country's largest labor unions protested against employment reforms they argue will make flexible workplace changes introduced during the pandemic more permanent. (AP Photo/Michael Varaklas)

Credit: Michael Varaklas

Credit: Michael Varaklas