A 24-hour strike was taking place in Greece on Wednesday, May 1, to commemorate an iconic 19th century industrial action in Chicago, in what has been transformed into an unofficial labor day in much of the world.

While Wednesday is considered a strike, the actual May Day holiday was transferred to next Tuesday, meaning a five-day holiday for some sectors, especially for those in the public sector (civil servants etc.), given that Friday is Good Friday in the predominately Orthodox Christian nation, followed by Holy Saturday, Easter Sunday and the Monday (Renewal Monday) after Easter, which is also a public holiday – i.e. five straight days.

As with previous such industrial actions in Greece called by unions representing wage-earners in the private and public sectors, mostly mass transit, rail service and especially ferry boat routes to and from the islands will be affected. A press strike is also underway.

As far as mass transports in the greater Athens-Piraeus area are concerned, the strike is not absolute, as three metro lines will operate from 09.30 until 16.30. Buses and trolleys will operate from 09.00 to 21.00.

Otherwise, the retail and wholesale sectors, banks, food-and-beverage establishments as well as all tourism-related business activities are unaffected.

Traffic restrictions and extraordinary measures were in effect in central Athens on Wednesday morning, as no less than three separate rallies by unions and groupings were scheduled.