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Greek ferries hit by strike action

- by Guest Post

Greek ferries hit by strike action.

Greece is set to grind to a halt today as workers go on strike in protest at ongoing austerity measures. Greek Island ferries look likely to stay tied up in ports right across the Aegean as the Pan-Hellenic Seamen's Federation (PNO) agreed to join the strike.

The protest follows the decision of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and the Greek coalition government to pass a reform bill that will lead to the firing of 15,000 public service workers as Greece's unemployment rate soars to a record 27.2%.

Workers are angry and EU-imposed reforms that will lead to job losses. Ships and ferry boats will stay tied up in docks until midnight on May 1st leaving many on Greek island holidays stranded.

The seamen claim many have been unpaid for up to six months and were forced back to work earlier this year under the threat of arrest over a prolonged strike.

TheAssociation of Passenger Shipping Companies (APSC) has already announced changed schedules for departures in order to lessen the impact on Greek Islands holidaymakers ahead of Easter.

The Greek government has already been forced to drop plans to sack 'problem' public sector workers to meet international lender requirements to pare the workforce by 25,000 in the next two years

The government was ready to sack workers accused of faking credentials, being absent from work, facing disciplinary hearings or committing crimes.

Under Greek law it's almost impossible to sack civil servants and disciplinary cases can take years while workers stay on the payroll, even if they refuse to come to work.

It is estimated that around 10,000 government contract workers have appealed to the courts to extend their deals and continue to receive salaries until their cases are decided in court.

The Greek parliament has to show progress on a series of reforms before the May 5 to trigger the release of a further €8.8 billion in loans from the European Union.