Police officers stand in front of a banner during a protest in central Athens on Thursday, Nov. 1, 2012. More than a thousand protesting officers from the police, coast guard and fire department joined a rally in Athens to demonstrate against government cuts, in the latest protest ahead of a planned two-day general strike next week. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)
ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Subway and suburban rail services in Greece's capital have been halted by a 24-hour strike, as labor unions prepare for a new round of major protests against deeper austerity measures.
Friday's transport strike in Athens, to protest pay cuts and broader privatization plans, was held ahead of a 48-hour general strike next Tuesday that will halt flights for three hours on that day.
Separate protests are also planned next week that will hit public transport, ferry services, state hospitals, and the ambulance service.
Greece's coalition government is struggling to push through a new round of austerity measures that is set to impose new wage, pension, and benefit cuts on a public already plagued by 25 percent unemployment.
A junior coalition partner has already said it will vote against the measures in parliament next week, demanding that labor reforms to be included in the draft bill be dropped or brought as separate legislation.
"There is no time for that," Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras said, rejecting the demand. He added he was "quite confident" the austerity measures would be approved.