Striking Greek marine workers said they will continue their walk-out until Feb. 6, further testing the resolve of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras to force them to return to work as he did by sending riot police in to break up a Metro workers’ strike last month.
The executive committee of the Panhellenic Nautical Federation decided unanimously for a new 48-hour strike after its workers had already refused to work the previous three days, closing down boat service and keeping ships tied in port. They will decide on Feb. 6 whether to continue their strike longer.
The union’s General Secretary, Yiannis Halas, in a statement to the Greek news AMNA, called on the government to accept its demands to roll back reforms that could force the layoffs of many seamen. The President of the Panhellenic Union of Sailors of the Commercial Navy (PENEN) Andonis Dalakogiorgos, in a statement complained about the government’s rigid stance and said the pending law would lead to thousands of positions being abolished for seamen. The government said that ships don’t need as many sailors or workers during winter months.
Members of Parliament from the PASOK Socialists responsible for maritime issues Nikos Sifounakis and Costas Triantiafyllou said the draft law needs to be revised. The party is one of Samaras’ coalition partners. The government also wants to establish separate contracts for lower-grade positions on seagoing vessels.