Greek steel workers end nine-month strike

The union at one of Greece's main steel plants has decided to end its nine-month strike, state television reported on Saturday.

Workers are expected to return Monday to the Hellenic Halyvourgia plant at Aspropyrgos west of Athens, where police have clashed with striking workers in recent weeks.

The workers first downed tools last October, protesting lay-offs as well as cuts in working hours and in pay to 500 euros ($615) per month that were imposed amid Greece's deep economic crisis.

At a union meeting with 150 workers reported present, 107 voted to end the protest, while 14 voted against and 29 abstained.

They agreed to return to work as long as police forces now guarding the plant leave the premises.

Last week, police intervened following a court order and opened the gates of the factory, meeting resistance from a group of strikers while others wanted to return to work.

Some protesters were detained and later released, now awaiting trial, charged with breaching a court order that had outlawed the strike weeks ago.

The government said it had acted upon the wishes of the workers, while the radical left main opposition party Syriza and the Communist Party condemned the police action.

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