Greek hotel and restaurant employees have called a 24 hour strike over what they say is a deterioration of workers’ rights as record numbers of tourists arrive in the country boosting the industry.
Greece expects to welcome 300 million foreign tourists in 2017 who will bring in revenue worth 14 billion euros. The tourist industry employs around one fifth of the country’s workforce.
“The growth of tourism with 30 million tourists that we are told is supposed to benefit not only the employers but us and the country, is a big lie. We work very hard and they give us nothing. Our average salary is just 420 euros all over the country and they tell us that with these salaries we will have better days,” said Nikos Papageorgiou, Member of the Union of Employees in Hotels and Restaurants.
Anti-austerity strikes are frequent in Greece but fears the strike would cause disruption to service at hotels and tourists sites were unfounded as turnout was low.
Victor Tice, a US tourist from Boston, appeared to sympathise with the worker’s strike-
“I think workers all over the world don’t benefit necessarily from tourist dollars. We just checked into a nice hotel and I’m sure that the staff there will not get much of what we are paying,” he said.
Our correspondent in Athens, Giannis Gianis said the majority of hotel businesses worked normally. “The fear of private sector workers that they might lose their jobs means they avoid participating in such protests,” he explained.