Selasa, 10 April 2012

Ferry worker strike underway - which will hit not only vacation travelers but also farmers who won't be able to move their goods. Parliament about to wrap up before being dissolved Wednesday - after Parliament wraps up , we find out when the election date will be.

Ferry workers strike, disrupting holidays
10 Apr 2012
Mariners say they had no choice but to call the strike, which has been condemned by business leaders and hoteliers
Mariners say they had no choice but to call the strike, which has been condemned by business leaders and hoteliers
Ferry workers began a 48-hour strike on Tuesday, leaving travellers stranded during one of the country's most important holidays and ignoring calls from the government not disrupt the key tourism sector.
Tens of thousands travel to the islands every year to celebrate Orthodox Easter with their families. This marks the start of the high season for the tourism sector, an industry that provides one in five jobs in the country.
"None of the ferries scheduled to depart from Piraeus this morning has left," a coastguard official said, adding at least five ferries had been cancelled so far.
Industry groups and politicians from the main parties had urged the seamen to call off their labour action, saying it would hurt business in a country that has entered its fifth straight year of economic contraction.
"It will destroy the Easter tourist business for all the Greek islands ... It will not allow thousands of farmers to sell their products at a time when things are very difficult," said Vassilis Korkidis, president of the National Confederation of Greek Commerce (ESEE).
"We are constantly hostages to strikes and protests which the only result is the destruction of one social group by another labour group," he said.
Hoteliers in some islands have said that Easter books are down by half.
to open up the sector, said they had no choice but to walk off the job.
"We understand the problems that the strike causes. Our strike will have consequences," said the head of the Panhellenic Seamen's Federation (PNO), Antonis Dalakogiorgos.
"But we have no other options as the government introduced already finalised plans right in the middle of Holy Week and just as parliament is to be dissolved, and we are officially on our way to elections."
Some ferries were departing from smaller ports as the industrial action was not in force everywhere, said the coastguard official, who could not assess the overall impact of the strike.
Easter Sunday is celebrated in Eastern Christianity this year on April 15. The official holiday starts on Friday and many travel a few days before to spend the week with their relatives. (Reuters)


Ferry strike begins; Crete farmers warn of produce losses

Greek sailors on Tuesday began a two-day strike against government reforms, halting ferry connections to the islands ahead of the Orthodox Easter holidays and disrupting the export of agricultural produce.
The sailors' union (PNO) said no ferries would leave Piraeus and the neighboring ports of Lavrio and Rafina, all near Athens, three weeks after a previous work stoppage. Greek Orthodox Easter this year falls on April 15.
"Our hand was forced by the government's callous policies,» Antonis Dalakogiorgos, head of the PNO-affiliated union of Greek merchant marine sailors, told Flash Radio.
"They have brought measures that eliminate decades of rights gains,» he said.
The walkout will also affect the transport of agricultural goods mainly from the island of Crete whose economy depends on tourism and crop sales.
"Unless a solution is found, more than 15,000 tons of farm produce will have to be destroyed,» said George Dispyrakis, head of growers at the Cretan town of Tymbaki.
"We are in danger of losing Greek and foreign markets with whom we have signed delivery contracts,» he told Ethnos daily. [AP] , Tuesday April 10, 2012 (11:05) 


Parliament ties up loose ends ahead of snap polls

Greece's Parliament on Tuesday prepared to wrap legislative activity ahead of snap elections expected next month, with a new poll predicting an uncertain outcome owing to anti-austerity anger in the country.
The 300-seat chamber was scheduled to approve by the evening a labor bill restructuring social security funds, the last piece of legislation that the caretaker government of Lucas Papademos had pledged to pass before the ballot.
"Legislative activity closes with the social security bill,» a Parliament source told AFP, adding: «The chamber was supposed to close anyway for the Easter break,» a four-day weekend between April 13-16.
Papademos this week is expected to submit his mandate to the head of state, President Karolos Papoulias, who will then issue a decree dissolving Parliament and calling for elections within 30 days.
According to ministers and other officials, May 6 is the most likely date.
"All the conditions are present for elections on May 6,» Antonis Samaras, head of the conservative New Democracy party that leads opinion polls, told private Mega television in an interview on Monday.
Mega released a poll giving New Democracy a four-point lead over the socialist PASOK party, which is narrowing the gap under its new leader, former Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos.
The survey by pollsters GPO suggests that with a mere 18.2 percent of the vote, New Democracy may be unable to form a majority government.
Amid mounting anger over two years of painful austerity, nearly one in five respondents did not give a party preference and over 3 percent said they would support a neo-Nazi party, giving them enough votes to enter Parliament.
Papademos took over in November as head of a coalition backed by New Democracy and PASOK to complete a debt-saving bond swap with private creditors and ratify a eurozone bailout worth 130 billion euros ($171 billion).
Greece in June will attempt to economize another 11.5 billion euros ($15 billion) by 2014 to meet conditions under a previous EU-IMF debt rescue.
Most of the 1,200 people questioned in Monday's poll said they wanted a coalition government and 56 percent took a dim view of Papademos's legacy. [AFP] , Tuesday April 10, 2012 (13:36)  

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