With a general strike of private sector workers looming for May 1 to protest ongoing austerity measures, the Pan-Hellenic Seamen’s Federation (PNO) together with the Hellenic Railways Organization (OSE) said its workers will join in and stop working.
That comes in the wake of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras’ coalition government passing a multi-faceted reform bill that will lead to the firing of 15,000 workers with the country’s unemployment rate already at a record 27.2 percent.
Ships and ferry boats will be left tied up in the docks from April 30th midnight until May 1st at midnight.
The seamen, some of whom have been unpaid for up to six months, were forced back to work by the government earlier this year under the threat of arrest over a prolonged strike and many are being forced to work without being paid, what they called a form of slavery.
The workers are upset with pending reforms that they said could merely lead and force job losses. However, the government has argued that fewer ships and crew members are needed within the winter months when passenger demand is far lower.
According to an announcement issued by the Association of Passenger Shipping Companies (APSC), the shipping companies have announced changed schedules of the vessels and changed departure hours as well, in order to inform holiday makers ahead of Easter.
Service on the Proastiakos suburban railway will be disrupted as well on Orthodox Easter Saturday and on Easter, May 5. The union is protesting government plans to privatize the OSE to which Proastiakos belongs. They are also pushing for their employer to agree on a collective contract.