Greek ferries freed of August strikes
Archimedes: July 2011
Greek ferries free from August strikes.
Greek island holiday tourists have been promised a strike-free August by seamen working on ferry routes across the Aegean. Seamen's unions decided to avoid threatened walkouts for the rest of July and August — the peak season for holiday visitors in the Greek islands.
They feared that ferry strikes could seriously damage the economy at the height of the holiday season as many tourists rely on ferries to visit smaller islands and for Greek island hopping holidays.
The wave of protest strikes comes in the wake of growing austerity measures by the government as it tries to tackle Greece's huge debt problem.
The news will come as a relief to those on Greek Island holidays who have already been hit by a taxi drivers' strike as roads to several major ports and airports have been blockaded by parked taxi cabs.
Seamen are angry at proposed cuts in pensions and allowances and, despite the decision to stay strike-free in August, they warn of action later in the year.
Of the 10 unions involved in strike talks seven voted to keep ferries in operation and five voted for strike action. They are expected to meet in mid-August to discuss progress.
Greece suffered a national strike in mid June and a series of 48-hour strike by electricity workers that has hit supplies.
Taxi drivers have held blockades and strikes all week and some face prosecution after occupying toll booths on major roads in Thessaloniki and letting drivers go through without paying.
Association of Greek Tourism Enterprises (SETE) has called on the courts to intervene and put a stop to the blocking of ports, airports and roads that has inconvenienced thousands of tourists.
Despite the problems the Greek Islands has seen a 10% rise in tourist arrivals this year as visitors shrug off the difficulties and cash in on cheap Greek holiday offers.