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Sailors strike ended but they got nothing for their pains

30 November 2010 / 18:11:09  GRReporter
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Passenger ships set off of all ports in Greece early in the morning after the sailors strike ended and they got back to work. Their trade union decided today at 6 am to put an end to the eight-day strike after the government decided yesterday to hand out summonses to all passenger fleet protesting employees which occupied the ships. Some of the sailors tore the summons, while others kept them, they said from the Panhellenic Seamen Federation. Shipping at the port of Piraeus was resumed today, passengers waited in front of the counters to buy tickets, while others leaped upon the "dolphins" to sail to the nearby islands of the Saronic Gulf.

"As they started to hand out summonses to the sailors yesterday afternoon, the executive committee of the Panhellenic Seamen Federation sat on board of Crete ship at 9 pm and decided to continue the strike, although summonses were already handed. According to the summonses, sailors should be at work and are required to follow the ship and if they do not obey they will be punished as the prosecutor decides, this could even mean imprisonment for disobedience. We decided at the yesterday’s meeting that the strike will last only at the port of Piraeus," said Yannis Halas – General Secretary of the Panhellenic Seamen Federation – for grreporter.info.

"Vessels from other ports in the country are sailing since ysterday evening but none of the vessels at Piraeus. The trade union committee met again at six o'clock in the morning and decided to cancel the strike at the port of Piraeus. Our main demand was to sign a collective labour agreement that shipowners do not want to sign. Our request is to increase wages by 2%, which other unions have included in their contracts with their employees. Now, we must decide how and when to continue with the protests. Sailors are very enraged by the government actions. We will not give up and want to sign a collective labour agreement at least," added the general secretary of the Federation.

The Minister of Maritime Affairs Yiannis Diamantidis took the decision to hand summonses to the sailors as an extreme measure as the tripartite meeting between the Minister, the President of the seamen federation Yannis Halas and the President of the union of shipowners Apostolos Venturis turned out to be ineffective. During the two-hour meeting, Mr. Diamantidis proposed the unions to cancel the strike for three days so that "to have time to discuss the pending issues relating to the claims of both sides." They said from the owners of ships side that if there is discussion and results for some of the demands, they will sign a collective labour agreement, but not for any percentage of salary increases.

The long strike of seamen who bound ships at ports for eight days affected the island the most as no food and essential supplies were delivered. People demonstrating in support of seafarers spent the whole night on Piraeus port. The Communist Party and the left parliamentary coalition SYRIZA disapproved the decision for handing summons to the sailors.

Tags: NewsShipsSailorsStrikeFleet
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