Piraeus port workers suspend strike

A two-and-a-half-week strike by stevedores at the country’s main port of Piraeus was suspended on Saturday after protesters accepted the government’s proposal for the renegotiation of a deal with Chinese company Cosco to take over the operation of two cargo terminals. The decision by the dock workers, whose action had seriously disrupted operations at the port and is believed to have cost Greek businesses some 30 million euros, is not to terminate their action but to suspend it until November 2. The workers said they would return to work today, noting that it would take three or four days to clear thousands of containers that had piled up at the port. They said they expect the revised contract to include assurances of job security. «We look forward to radical revisions that will change the core of the agreement,»said union spokesman Giorgos Georgakopoulos. In the meantime, Economy, Competitiveness and Merchant Marine Minister Louka Katseli, whose PASOK government inherited the deal sealed by the outgoing conservatives, has promised to sit down with the Chinese to review the terms of the 3.4-billion-euro agreement. Responding to the union’s announcement on Saturday afternoon, Katseli was upbeat, describing it as «a positive development.» «This proves that, with substantial dialogue, a spirit of cooperation, constant effort and persistence, we can solve even the most complex problems for the common public good,» she said.