A transport ministry bill for restructuring urban transport in Athens was passed by parliament after midnight Tuesday after a heated debate between government and opposition parties.

The bill, which prompted more than a month of strikes and work stoppages by mass transit employees, was passed with the votes of the ruling PASOK deputies and Independent MP Dora Bakoyannis, a former main opposition New Democracy (ND) minister.

Earlier, public transport employees gathered outside parliament in central Syntagma Square from the early afternoon to demonstrate against the bill.

The protestors remained outside parliament until after the bill was passed.

Urban bus drivers went ahead, however, with a four-hour work stoppage from 11 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Wednesday.