NEWS

Piraeus port blockade draws China complaint

ILIAS BELLOS

TAGS: Shipping, Politics, Strike

With the blockade of the cargo terminal run by China’s Cosco at Piraeus by disgruntled port workers causing serious disruptions in the transfer of cargo shipments and drawing the ire of port officials, the Chinese Embassy in Athens filed a complaint on Friday with the Greek government, urging it to protect China’s significant investments in Greece. 

Even though the strike by unionists, the majority of whom belong to outside contractors, has been ruled illegal and abusive, dozens of striking workers prevented Cosco employees from getting to work on Friday by blocking the two entrance gates to cargo terminals 2 and 3 as well as the company’s offices at the port. 

As a result, a large ship docked at the port has been unavailable to deliver three crane bridges – the largest in the world – to Terminal 3. 

Port workers who began their strike action on Wednesday claim that Cosco does not fulfill its obligations as an employer. They are seeking more staff hirings and wage increases as part of a new collective labor agreement. 

Exasperated port officials told Kathimerini that the delays and disruptions are “taking us back years” and lambasted the Shipping Ministry for failing to mobilize port authorities so that the law is upheld and business resumes as usual.

For its part, the ministry said it had not received notifications of the court ruling with regard to the strike, and as such port authorities could not take action.

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