Greek commuters saw journeys disrupted Monday as taxi drivers downed tools to protest at competition from ride-sharing firm Uber on a day rail workers also held a 24-hour strike.
‘For three years we have been fighting against Uber’s illegal and arbitrary incursion into transport,’ read a statement from the Athens taxi drivers’ union Sata.
Sata pointed out it has been urging the Greek government to regulate the sector, invoking a European Court of Justice ruling from December which found Uber must accept regulation and licensing across EU states as a taxi operator.
A Spanish association of taxi operators which brought the case dubbed that ruling a ‘social victory’ against a company which has long battled legal uncertainty over its status in Europe as taxi drivers and officials in several countries accuse it of flouting local regulations.
Demonstrating taxi drivers in Athens urged Greece immediately legislate to respond to Uber’s ‘illegality and fraud’ and protect the sector.
A rail strike compounded matters for commuters and tourists alike after drivers went on strike in protest over staffing levels and at the impending selloff of rail maintenance firm Rosco, one of two firms to emerge from the 2012 split of former public rail operator OSE.
The other firm, the rail operator Trainose, recently fetched 45 million euros ($50 million) from Italian public rail firm Ferrovie Dello Stato Italiane (FS).
EU authorities have yet to wave the deal through as they assess a dossier on state aid relating to some 700 million euros of Trainose debt owed to OSE.
Trainose workers have staged several strikes to protest the selloff, undertaken as Greece seeks to pare down its debt mountain to EU and IMF creditors.