Greek holiday ferries stranded by seamen's strike

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Greek holiday ferries stranded by seamen's strike

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Greek seamen have embarked on a 48 hour strike, consigning passenger ferries to port ahead of one of the most important holiday periods.

Tens of thousands usually travel to the Greek islands before the orthodox Easter next weekend. The walkout is in protest at plans to increase competition and reform pensions and social security.

The government and businesses have condemned the strike at a time when Greece is already devastated by the economic crisis.

“It will destroy the Easter tourist business for the whole of the Greek islands. It will cause inconvenience for thousands of travellers. It will prevent thousands of farmers from selling their products at a time when things are very difficult,” said Vassilis Korkidis, President of the National Confederation of Greek Commerce.

Officials said travellers had cancelled reservations. At Greece’s main commercial port of Piraeus, ferries remained in dock as striking workers backed by Communist party members guarded the entrances.

The seamen’s union argues the reforms will damage healthcare provision.