Greek Islands Travel Logo
Greek Islands Travel
Tourist travel guides to the Greek islands
 >  Dodecanese  >  Kos  >  Kos workers protest

Kos seasonal workers protest

- by Andy Cornish

Low wages and poor conditions for holiday staff.

Seasonal holiday workers on Kos are protesting at the low wages and poor working conditions for part time holiday workers. Hotel staff and taverna waiters claim they are being exploited by both employers and the government as they struggle to make a living.

It comes as hotel owners and tourism leaders report a record number of holiday visitors to the Greek Islands and a steep rise in revenues for the tourism industry this year.

Seasonal workers on Kos say they have seen none of the benefits of the surge in tourists this year despite hotel and taverna owners coining the extra cash.

Now union leaders want full protection for seasonal workers who they claim are being stung by lower wages and higher taxes in austerity Greece.

Changes in the law on benefit payouts to part-time workers could have a serious effect on income levels for seasonal holiday workers who can only find work during the summer holiday season on the Greek Islands.

With a summer season only six months long, many rely on benefits during the winter lay-off when no work is available for them. But austerity cutbacks mean they may not be able to claim benefits while out of work.

Unions say seasonal holiday workers work exhausting hours for starvation wages over the summer season yet now face substantial cuts in unemployment benefit.

Meanwhile hotel and taverna owners on Kos have enjoyed one of the best holiday seasons ever with 926,000 arrivals at the airport of Kos between March and October as well as an increase in ship cruise visitors and ferry arrivals.

A recent conference called for a big advertising campaign to bring more holidaymakers to Kos next year with an emphasis on sustainable tourist development.

Cultural leaders on Kos are pleading for help to upgrade some of the island's major archaeological sites and boost tourist holiday visitors.

Kos tourism leaders have drawn up a six-point plan to boost tourist numbers on Kos next year. Measures include a new focus on marine tourism; more tourist information points across the island, the erection of information kiosks for tourists; a campaign to promote Kos on social networks sites like Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Panoramio and Google Maps.