Athens city center shopkeepers count their losses from strikes

Each day of a general strike costs the businesses in Athens city center a turnover loss of 5.93 million euros and a loss in profits amounting to 1.48 million euros, according to a survey of trade, service and catering companies in the capital by Kapa Research. In the period of labor unrest during February and March, city center firms recorded turnover losses of 25.37 million euros and profit losses of 6.34 million euros. The survey was commissioned by the Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry (EBEA). «It is clear that the cost of the strikes and the rioting in Athens is hard to bear for companies. What we are asking is that everyone acknowledge the heavy price city center companies pay without being at fault at all,» said the EBEA president, Constantinos Michalos. Three-quarters of those polled said at least two lanes in the capital’s main roads must remain open even during rallies. Although in their majority entrepreneurs suggest that any restriction in industrial action is against the democratic right of freedom of expression, they do believe that demonstrations and marches must be staged only in specific time periods and not throughout the day. Interestingly 51 percent of respondents say that the greatest problem in the city center is created by the improper work of the police. Worse, 26.5 percent of companies answered they have suffered damage or been theft victims once or more times during the industrial action, with 1,462 firms of the 5,458 active in the center spending an average 5,338 euros (a total of 7,356,327 euros) to reinforce security amid riots. In those two months, 2,936 companies remained closed or operated only partially for an average of 4.11 days, while 1,035 companies paid their staff nine days’ wages without them working, a total cost of just over 400,000 euros.