Seamen’s strike damages farmers

The Panhellenic Seamen’s Federation (PNO) yesterday called a 48-hour strike, to start at 6 a.m. today, on the back of three days of walkouts, causing more misery for passengers and creating serious problems for thousands of farmers on Crete who complained that tons of crops due for delivery had been left to rot. Efstathios Kornaros, a spokesman for a development organization based in Crete’s Lasithi prefecture, told Kathimerini that the strike had dealt a serious blow to local producers. «Usually we send out 50 trucks loaded with fruit and vegetables every day,» Kornaros said. He added that the unseasonably high temperatures had reduced the shelf life of the goods. «The produce has to be sent out for consumption without delay,» he said. The situation is just as bad elsewhere. Giorgos Dispirakis, general secretary of the federation of agricultural cooperatives in Iraklio, said that hundreds of tons of goods worth some 3 million euros had been left to rot over the past three days. Another problem is that producers have been forced let down foreign clients. Some farmers export 50 percent of their goods, chiefly to Germany and countries of the former Eastern Bloc. In a related development, the Association of Greek Coastal Shipping Companies accused the protesting seamen, who are demanding a new collective work contract, of pushing their sector to the brink of bankruptcy with their rolling strikes.