Taxi drivers to call off strike

The head of Attica?s union of taxi drivers, Thymios Lyberopoulos, said on Thursday that he would call for an end to a nationwide strike that has paralyzed services and caused upheaval in the tourism sector following talks with Attica Governor, Yiannis Sgouros, who pledged not to approve any new licenses until the end of August when Transport Minister, Yiannis Ragousis, is expected to present legislation outlining the deregulation of the sector.

Addressing reporters, Lyberopoulos said he would call for a halt to the action which has been running out of steam as cabbies lose valuable income in the middle of the tourist season. On the Aegean islands of Lesvos, Myconos, Rhodes, Kos and Santorini, taxis are already back on the road.

Taxi drivers, who object to full liberalization as they believe this will lead to a saturation of their sector and drive them out of business, have called for certain restrictions to be imposed on the issuing of licenses. Ragousis has ruled this out, saying he is determined to fully open the sector to competition in accordance with the demands of Greece?s foreign creditors.

Already some 4,600 applications have been made for new licenses. Sgouros said none of these would be approved until legislation liberalizing the sector has been made public at the end of this month.

Ragousis did not immediately comment on the agreement reached between unionists and local authorities.

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