Greek riot police stormed the Athens underground train depot early on Friday to enforce a government emergency order forcing striking rail staff back to work.
Dozens of strikers had barricaded themselves in the depot in western Athens after the government issued a civil mobilisation order on Thursday under which workers refusing to return to work risk dismissal, arrest and prison.
The nine-day strike has been the biggest labour unrest Greece's conservative-led governing coalition faced since taking over last June.
Metro staff have been have been outraged by plans to scrap their existing contracts as part of austerity-driven public-sector pay cuts.
Their union said the measure would subject them to a roughly 25 per cent drop in income.
Greece has imposed repeated rounds of public-sector salary and pension cuts in return for billions of euros in bailout loans.
The measures have led to a deep recession, now in its sixth year, and unemployment spiralling above 26 per cent.
Police broke through the gates and removed dozens of strikers in the pre-dawn raid, while rows of riot police blocked off roads leading to the depot to prevent hundreds of strike supporters who had begun gathering from getting to the facility.
The government's decision to issue the mobilisation order led to a swift backlash on Thursday, with all other public transport workers declaring immediate strikes. No buses, trams or trolleys were operating on Friday morning.
Workers are obliged to respond once they receive notification of the civil mobilisation order.
The civil mobilisation law has now been used nine times since the 1974 collapse of the military dictatorship - three of those in the past two years in strikes related to austerity measures.
Defying the order to return to work can lead to arrest and jail terms of between three months and five years.
Unions and the pro-EU radical left opposition Syriza party accused the government of using dictatorial tactics.
"The government is dressed in khaki.
"It's a new coup against this country's constitution to mobilise working people on strike on the subway with military-style methods to try and break their struggle" said Syriza MP Dimitris Stratoulis.
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