Dock workers to be ordered to get back on the job

The government was expected later on Tuesday to issue civil mobilization orders to striking dock workers who said that they would continue their action unless the government met their demands for a new collective labor contract and the full payback of arrears from ferry companies.

The decision to issue striking workers with orders to return to the job or face imprisonment came as the country’s islands were cut off from the mainland for the sixth consecutive day on Tuesday and following a meeting of seamen’s unions in which they decided to extend their strike until Friday.

The strike has already had an impact on islanders, many of whom rely on the mainland for basic everyday supplies. On Monday, an island trade and commerce association warned that the seamen’s walkout poses a substantial threat to small businesses in the archipelago, which already face severe pressure due to Greece’s three-year financial crisis.

Dock workers are demanding back pay from ship owners, a collective labor agreement and an end to undocumented and uninsured employees. They also want the government to cancel a plan to regulate the minimum number of dock workers required in each crew, saying that would lead to layoffs.

Sources suggested that civil mobilization orders would be served to striking workers by the end of the day with the expectation that ferry services would resume on Wednesday.

It was not clear whether the decision has the support of government coalition partners PASOK and Democratic Left.

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