Port workers announce two-day strike

Dock workers at the ports of Piraeus and Thessaloniki have announced they will walk off the job for two days next week over financial demands. «The policy of separating new from old employees, which is being implemented by the government and the management of the ports, hits both salaries and labor relations,» the workers said in a statement. The strikes will be held on Wednesday and Thursday and follow on from repeated strike action by workers earlier this year in protest against government plans to hand over cargo management facilities at the ports to private operators. Last month, the Piraeus Port Authority provisionally awarded a tender for its container operations to Cosco Pacific Ltd, Asia’s third-largest container terminal operator. Meanwhile, Thessaloniki Port Authority (OLTH) will detail tenders inviting investors interested in running its facilities by the end of July, once bidders’ objections have been examined. Industry sources pointed out that next week’s strike action will harm Greece’s ambitions to become a regional transport hub, creating further delays in cargo management. Apart from launching repeated strike action, workers have refused to work overtime for the last seven months. «Some companies have decided to stop using Greek ports altogether as a result of this latest strike, saying enough is enough,» said one source.