Tourists stranded by Greek air strike

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Tourists stranded by Greek air strike

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Air traffic controllers in Greece joined hospital workers and other public sector employees in striking against pension and labour reforms.

Passengers were stranded as the four-hour stoppage resulted in dozens of flights from Athens cancelled and many more rescheduled.

The unrest in Greece is hitting the tourist industry which accounts for nearly a fifth of the economy.

“The air traffic controllers are doing themselves and Greece a disservice,” said one English traveller. “This will not help their economy, tourists will not come, they will not spend money. I have been coming to Greece for 20 years, I spend nearly three months a year here. I will think again now.”

Unions called on half a million workers to demonstrate and hope a planned general strike in the autumn will galvanise people hit by a degree of protest fatigue.

Ilias Iliopoulos of the public sector Adedy union said: “We’re telling the government for the last time that we reject their bankrupt policies. As of tomorrow preparations will begin for the next battle of resistance against these decisions, and you’ll see in September the people will rise up and demonstrate.”

Last week the Greek parliament passed an overhaul of the pension system, curbing early retirement and raising the retirement age to 65.

The reforms are part of a government austerity package agreed in return for an international multi-billion euro bailout.