InAthens, workers on Acropolis are striking to protest being forced to work in temperatures as high as 113 degrees Fahrenheit. The workers union says the action is “aimed at protecting the health of the security staff and visitors.”
As the deadly Cerberus heatwave intensifies through the week with temps surpassing 45C, tourists and locals alike are feeling the heat. But perhaps nobody is bearing the brunt more than the people working in the hospitality industry – and in Greece, workers at the Acropolis of Athens have had enough. Their union announced this week that staff will go on strike from Thursday to protest being forced to work in the sweltering 45C heat.
The potential of dangerously high temperatures are are now a downside of summer European travel. According to a study from Spanish researchers recently published in Nature Medicine, more than 61,000 people died during last year’s summer heatwaves across Europe. The mortality rate was highest in Italy, Greece, Spain and Portugal.
Forecasts suggest that Greece will see a small dip in temperatures on Monday but that is expected to be followed by a third heat wave two days later. With sweltering temperatures enduring well after sunset, it is likely that the country’s archaeological sites will continue to restrict afternoon visits.
Staff at the popular tourist attraction will stop working at 4pm today (July 20) and the strike will last for four hours a day. ‘Given the problems we have faced … in recent days, measures have been unanimously decided,’ said the PEYFA union, which represents the striking workers.
The extreme heat is taking a particularly hard toll on tourism hotspots throughout the Mediterranean, where there is no relief in sight.
The home to the Parthenon temple was shut down last Friday for three days due to the heat but was reopened on Monday. It hasn’t been specified how long the protest will last, but as the Greek hotspot continues to swelter at the height of the busy summer season, the union said that the strike is ‘aimed at protecting the health of the security staff and visitors.’
Temperatures on the Italian islands of Sardinia and Sicily are expected to hit 118 degrees Fahrenheit in the coming days, which would reach “the hottest temperatures ever recorded in Europe,” according to the European Space Agency (ESA).
Greece is suffering through its second heat wave in as many weeks, and temperatures are expected to reach 111 degrees Fahrenheit, or 44 Celsius, in Athens on Sunday. Workers say the heat poses a potential risk to them and to visitors, and they stopped working at noon on Thursday and Friday and plan to continue doing so until at least Sunday. Their union says they will reassess the situation on Monday.
Workers at the Acropolis, Greece’s top tourist attraction, say they will go on strike from Thursday to protest being forced to work in scorching temperatures.
British newspaper The Telegraph and Greek media report that staff at the UNESCO World Heritage site in Athens will stop working at 4 p.m. each day. The Acropolis is normally open daily from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
The union of workers at the ancient site says that given the problems they have faced in recent days, they have unanimously decided on the measures to protect the health of staff and visitors.
Speaking to Greek radio on Friday morning, the head of the union, Ioannis Mavrikopoulos, said the temperature on the site of the Acropolis, home to the gleaming white marble Parthenon monument and few shade trees, had reached some 118 degrees Fahrenheit, or 48 Celsius. The Acropolis is perched on a rocky outcrop high above Athens.
Nearly two dozen Italian cities — including Rome, Bologna and Florence and every other major — are currently under red alert for extreme heat. A red warning means the heat poses a “threat to everybody, not just vulnerable groups.” Italian authorities have advised the public to avoid direct sunlight in these places between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m.