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Greek unions in showdown with government over planned electric utility sale

  • Greece Power Company-1.jpg

    Graffiti is painted on walls and the entrance of an electric station of Public Power Corporation (PPC) in Athens, on Wednesday, July 2, 2014. PPC workers are threatening with rolling strikes to protest government plans to sell a stake in the company to private investors. The conservative-led government is warning that a protracted strike could lead to blackouts at the height of Greece's key tourist season, and has said it could try to force PPC workers back to work through a mobilization order. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris) (The Associated Press)

  • 0f94f035c7f3bd19580f6a706700cb86.jpg

    ? skateboarder walks on a street next an electric station of Public Power Corporation (PPC) in Athens, on Wednesday, July 2, 2014. PPC workers are threatening with rolling strikes to protest government plans to sell a stake in the company to private investors. The conservative-led government is warning that a protracted strike could lead to blackouts at the height of Greece's key tourist season, and has said it could try to force PPC workers back to work through a mobilization order. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris) (The Associated Press)

  • Greece Power Company-3.jpg

    People queue to pay their electricity bills at a Public Power Company office in central Athens, Wednesday, July 2, 2014. PPC workers are threatening with rolling strikes to protest government plans to sell a stake in the company to private investors. The conservative-led government is warning that a protracted strike could lead to blackouts at the height of Greece's key tourist season, and has said it could try to force PPC workers back to work through a mobilization order. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris) (The Associated Press)

Greek authorities are warning of possible power cuts at the heart of the summer tourist season as electric utility workers head for protracted strikes against government plans to break off and sell part of the country's dominant power producer.

Public Power Corporation unions have vowed to launch rolling 48-hour walkouts Thursday, arguing that electricity supply is a vital commodity that should stay under state control.

The conservative-led government insists it will carry out the sale — which was demanded by the recession-plagued country's international creditors. It is threatening to force strikers back to work with a mobilization order.

Prime Minister Antonis Samaras said Wednesday he would not bow to "fanatic populists."

Since 2010, Greece has survived on international bailouts granted on condition that it implements tough austerity measures,