Subway and suburban rail services in Athens have ground to a halt as a 24-hour strike takes effect and labour unions prepare for a new round of major protests against deeper austerity measures.

The transport strike on Friday was called to protest pay cuts and broader privatisation plans.

A 48-hour general strike next Tuesday will halt flights for three hours on that day.

Separate protests are also planned next week that will hit public transport, ferry services, state hospitals and the ambulance service.

Greece's coalition government is struggling to push through a new round of austerity measures that is set to impose new wage, pension and benefit cuts on a public already plagued by 25 per cent unemployment.

A junior coalition partner has already said it will vote against the measures in parliament next week, demanding that labor reforms to be included in the draft bill be dropped or brought as separate legislation.

"There is no time for that," Yannis Stournaras, the finance minister, said, rejecting the demand.

He added he was "quite confident'' the austerity measures would be approved.

Source: Agencies