Strikers disrupt Greek ferries

2010-06-23 15:18
Athens - Striking port workers prevented hundreds of passengers from boarding ferries heading from Greece's main port of Piraeus to Aegean holiday islands on Wednesday, despite a court order declaring their strike illegal.

Tempers frayed at the port next to Athens, with passengers arguing and occasionally scuffling with strikers preventing them from accessing the ships. Greek passengers booed strikers chanting slogans and blocking ferry gangplanks, while foreign tourists sat despondently on their suitcases.

"We can't go to Santorini and we have the hotel paid, and if we don't take these boats, we lose a lot of money," said Claudia, a Spanish tourist who would give only her first name.

One striking union member, Savvas Tsiboglou, told Antenna radio that workers would continue their action, and that the passengers who were seeing their travel plans disrupted "are the victims of the government".

Only two of 14 unions represented in the main port workers' umbrella union had said they wanted to participate in Wednesday's 24-hour strike, called by PAME, a communist party-backed labour group.

Against govt austerity measures

The union is protesting government austerity measures designed to pull Greece out of a financial crisis that saw it come to the brink of default last month.

Unions representing several sectors, including hospital staff, construction workers, accountants and the food industry, joined the PAME strike, while state television pulled all programming off the air for 24 hours. Railway workers were also carrying out two-hour work stoppages during the day, disrupting inter-city trains.

Hundreds of strikers marched through central Athens, chanting slogans and holding banners calling for a general uprising and for the government to call off the austerity measures.

But it is the scenes at Piraeus that are likely to cause the most concern. The ferry disruption comes as Greece's main tourist season gets into full swing and will horrify those who work in the vital tourist industry, which has already seen a drop in bookings due to the financial crisis.

Would cover visitors' costs

The unions striking in Piraeus "do not understand that our economy is in a dire condition, as is the coastal shipping family", an association representing ferry companies said on Tuesday.

In an attempt to assuage fears of disrupted holidays, Culture and Tourism Minister Pavlos Geroulanos pledged the state would cover the extra costs of any visitors who become stranded due to strikes or even natural disasters.

But on Wednesday, his ministry did not immediately have details of how tourists stranded in Athens because of the port strike could claim for their extra room expenses.

It also did not have details of whether travellers would be compensated for potential hotel cancellation fees on islands they were unable to get to, or how much the port strike was likely to cost the government.

- AP
Read more on:    greece  |  economy
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

 

Inside News24

 
/News
 

Joburg hot spots for cocktails, craft beer, tapas and wine!

It’s the season to be jolly – so we’ve rounded up some new Joburg hot spots!

 
 

I love summer.24

Summer Survey!
Great ideas for the best summer sandwiches!
Christmas lingerie to make this festive season the best one ever!
13 things you might not know about Disneyland

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2DAYS ONLY – 30% off Appliances

Coffee makers, blenders, fans, juicers and more. T&Cs apply. Shop now!

2 DAYS ONLY – 40% off books

Get 40% off when you buy 2 books. For two days only! T&Cs apply. Buy now!

Up to 50% off on outdoor gear

Save on chairs, blankets, cooler bags, umbrellas and more. Shop now!

Save on Samsung

Cameras, mobile phones, TVs, Tablets and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Grand Theft Auto 5

Now available on PS4, Xbox One and PC from R649. Buy now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

The energy today is serious, materialistic and hardworking. You may find you get a new outlook on things and you may want to spend...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.