NEWS

Greek civil aviation workers suspend strike after talks with government

TAGS: Transport, Strike, Privatizations

Greek civil aviation workers suspended a five-day strike planned for June 20-25 to protest against the development of the country’s regional airports after receiving assurances from the government their jobs were not at risk.

Greece’s privatization agency published an invitation on Monday to hire an adviser to work out whether some 23 regional airports could be further developed.

In response, civil aviation workers union OSYPA called the strike fearing that such a move would result in job losses or hurt workers’ labor rights.

The walkout would have disrupted air traffic at airports on some of Greece’s popular islands at the start of its peak tourism season.

After a series of meetings, OSYPA said the government and senior tourism officials had shown "sensitivity" over the issues that worried workers and were willing to discuss the airports’ future with unions.

"We convened an hour ago and decided to suspend the strike and proceed to an in-depth dialogue," OSYPA’s president Vassilis Alevizopoulos said after meeting Greek transport Minister Christos Spirtzis.

Privatizations have been a key element of the three international bailouts Greece has received since 2010, but they have reaped limited revenues due to political resistance, bureaucracy and opposition from unions.

Authorities agreed to lease 14 regional airports to German operator Fraport last year.

"There won’t be anyone who now works in civil aviation and won’t continue to work for the organization, for the service," Spirtzis said after the meeting.

Ports and railway workers have recently stepped up labor action, complicating government efforts to implement a privatization program linked to the country’s bailout.

[Reuters]

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