ECONOMY

Port workers to toughen stance and challenge OLP decision for the privatization of its container station

Port workers are escalating their reaction to the planned port privatization, following the approval by the Piraeus Port Authority (OLP) last Friday for the concession of some of the activities at its container terminals to private investors. Today and tomorrow, all commercial ports in Greece will remain closed, while port workers will abstain from overtime work until the end of the month. They will also resort to legal recourse to test the legitimacy of the decision by the OLP board. According to the unionists of the Federation of Greek Port Employees (OMYLE), the challenging of the decision will be based on three points: That four of the board members, who were against the plan, did not attend the meeting, that the proclamation of the tender was delivered in a was shorter period than it was supposed to have been, and that the decision should have been taken by the general meeting of shareholders, not by the governing board. OLP management counters that last Friday there was a quorum, as provided for by regulations, and that the issues were discussed in detail. The members present decided unequivocally to concede part of the activities of the container station. «Four board members chose not to participate in the meeting. The chairman of the board communicated with them before the meeting with one of those members, who is the employees’ representative, but he declined to come. In an effort to secure the presence of everyone, [OLP Chairman] Dionysis Bechrakis tried to communicate with the absent members, to no avail,» an OLP statement reads. Last Friday, OLP employees marched toward the building where the company’s board met and clashed with the police. There have been no problems reported in the transport of goods due to the two 24-hour work stoppages to date, however shipping companies may well choose other Mediterranean ports in the future. «That would be disastrous, as shipping costs would go up at the expense of consumers,» Kathimerini was told.