Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Greek Sailors and Railway Workers Join Strikes That Disrupt Nations Shipping and Freight Logistics

No end in sight for Greek woes
Shipping News Feature

GREECE - The Panhellenic Seamen's Federation (PNO) has announced that its members are on strike until 0600 local time Wednesday the 19th of October. During this period no ships will be allowed to set sail from any Greek port or harbour.

The Federation is demanding that seamen's pensions and social insurance fund continue to receive state funding and that current benefits be maintained, as well as security for Greek seamen's jobs, improvements in training and action against unemployment. It also wants the ship owners to re-enter national collective bargaining negotiations so that wages can be upgraded.

John Halas, general secretary of the PNO, said: “Greek seafarers are determined to defend with dynamism their rights from the cruel attack of the Greek government and will not allow the extermination of Greek seafaring, with a thousand years of history and contribution to the nation.”

They have been joined by the country’s railway workers, halting trains and shipments, in an escalating crisis which is being dubbed “the mother of all strikes” and will culminate in a 48-hour general strike beginning on Wednesday the 19th of October.

The strike, expected to be the biggest Greece has seen since the start of the financial crisis two years ago, is being supported by unions representing around half of Greece's 4 million-strong workforce and is scheduled to coincide with a Parliamentary votes on further pension and salary cuts, and the suspension on reduced pay of some 30,000 public servants.