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Greece: Strikes over labor changes halt ferries, services

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Strikes against Greece's new conservative government halted ferries and transport services Wednesday as labor unions held protest rallies over a bill they argue will undermine collective bargaining rights and the right to strike.

Supported by the country's largest labor unions, the wide-ranging strikes also affected public hospitals, banks and schools. Flights were not affected. Staff at newspapers, news websites, and news programs on television and radio also held a 24-hour strike.

More than 5,000 protesters joined peaceful rallies organized by unions. Earlier, members of a Communist-backed union briefly clashed with police while trying to disrupt an auction of repossessed property. Police used tear gas to disperse the demonstrators but no arrests were reported.

Elected in July, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis' conservative government is planning to overhaul employment legislation to make changes it says are needed to counter abuse of part-time contracts and undeclared labor by some employers.

Unions are pressing for the restoration of pay scales and labor rights that were lowered and suspended during Greece's three consecutive international bailouts between 2010 and 2018.

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