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Strike of ferry workers paralyzes Piraeus for a day

26 April 2010 / 16:04:23  GRReporter
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The opening of the so-called “closed professions”, based on the principle of free market, unveiled spirits among the commercial fleet and ferry transport in Greece. 24-hour working strike was organized as a sign of protest against the entry of foreign ferry companies in Greek shipping. Over 20 ferries from the port of Piraeus will not meet the planned courses to Crete, the Cycladic and Dodecanese Islands in southeastern Greece. 

The repeal of cabotage sailing enters the program of socialist government in order to enhance the competitiveness of the domestic market. Economic analysts estimate that today’s prices of ferry services, especially to more remote destinations are higher than those of other maritime countries in Europe such as Italy and Spain. The goal of the government is to make ferry transportation more accessible and cheaper by increasing the number of firms operating in the market. Encouraging competitiveness will improve the quality of the service and will settle prices at more relevant and accessible levels. According to data from the Institute for Trade and Industrial Research the shipping cabotage opening in the country will bring about 1% of GDP in additional revenue in the budget. 

The main reason for the protest of the ferry workers was that with the release of the market many Greek seamen will lose their jobs, who are actually the more expensive workers than their foreign counterparts. This is why the Federation of Greek seamen organized the protest. The Federation threatens to block 1500 passengers from sailing away from the port of Piraeus on 26 April of this year with Maltese cruise "Zenith." As an argument for the blockade is the fact that not even one Greek sailor is working on board of the foreign vessel. The unions are adamant that the abolition of cabotage the Greek commercial fleet will perish. Contrary to this assertion, the European Commission study shows that opening up shipping routes of Greece will gain around €1.6 billion annually from the current €10 million per year.

Tags: strike Pieria Greece port ferry
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