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Greek taxi cab protest drags on

- by Archimedes

Greek taxi cab protest drags on.

Tourists on Greek island holidays have been forced to carry luggage some distance from airports as striking Greek taxi owners step up their protests at reforms. Greek taxi cab drivers blockaded highways,ports and a busy Greek island airport after negotiations with the government on new licensing laws collapsed in acrimony.

Greek taxi cab drivers are now in their third week of a bitter strike that has triggered angry warnings from the country's tourism industry as visitors are inconvenienced by their action.

Despite the warnings, taxi drivers blocked the main highways in southern Greece as well as roads leading to Iraklion International Airport on the holiday island of Crete.

Taxi cabs parked on approach roads forced tourists to leave buses some distance away from the airport and walk to the main terminal to catch holiday flights home.

Cabbies also blocked access to the main port on the island of Corfu affecting holidaymakers using ferry services. 

Leaders of the Athens Taxi Owners Association have pledged to surround the Transport Ministry in Athens for 48 hours and vowed to continue strike action until the government abandoned planned reforms.

Taxi drivers are angry at plans to open up their profession to more competition as part of major reforms to the economy.

Cabbies claim they will lose money invested buying expensive licenses and fear a glut in the industry and people snap up cheaper licences.

The reforms have been demanded by the European Union and the International Monetary Fund, as part of austerity measures required to pay out rescue loans worth more than €110 billion.