Sailors call off strike action

Ferry sailings are to resume today after striking seamen decided to call off protest action following a compromise reached between unionists and government officials.

After a tense three-hour meeting with Development and Merchant Marine Minister Anna Diamantopoulou and other ministry officials, the Panhellenic Seamen?s Union (PNO) decided against continuing its action -- with nine votes against further strikes, five votes in favor and one blank ballot.

The decision came on the second day of a 48-hour walkout that paralyzed coastal shipping and prompted protests from trade associations and farmers who were unable to export tons of perishable goods.

However PNO noted that although the written commitments provided to unionists by Diamantopoulou were reassuring, ?they in themselves do not provide the solution to the sailors? just demands,? adding that their future stance would depend on the government backing its words with actions.

Diamantopoulou, for her part, hailed the agreement as ?averting a very dangerous crisis at a difficult moment.?