Greek Seamen’s Strike Strands Thousands of Travelers, Tourists

September 3, 2018

ATHENS — With another record summer tourism season winding down, thousands of travelers and visitors were stranded on Greek islands on Sept. 3 when ferry crews seeking higher pay and tax breaks went on strike.

The union of seamen, PNO, said the work stoppage could be extended another day despite pleas from shipping companies to call it off. There was no word from the ruling Radical Left SYRIZA-led coalition.

Ferry companies have said that the strike would affect about 180,000 people who had booked to travel to or from the islands, which include many of Greece’s most popular tourist destinations such as Mykonos, Santorini and Crete as many islands have no air connections with the rest of the country.

Unions are seeking a 5 percent pay rise after an eight-year pay freeze due to the country’s debt crisis and want to cash in on a record run of tourism years but employers are offering 1 percent.

The association representing Greek ferry companies (SEEN) had urged the union to call off the action and in a letter to them wrote that it would propose renewal of collective labor contracts, practices that SYRIZA ended on orders of international lenders, but which the government said would be restored now that international bailouts have ended.

Shipping companies said the PNO’s strike would cause upheaval for a large number of people. “It will be impossible for solutions to be found to serve passengers,” SEEN said.

The last time the ferry workers struck was in May 2017, even though protests have not worked yet to change the mind of successive governments to keep imposing more austerity on workers, pensioners and the poor.

At that time, the PNO union said seamen were “uniting their voices with those of other workers around the country to cry ‘Take back the measures,’” referring to a new pension cuts and tax hikes imposed by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, breaking his word to them.

There have been thousands of strikes since Greece in 2010 first sought what turned into three bailouts of 326 billion euros ($378.46 billion) and none have done anything to persuade a succession of governments from following the lenders orders to impose pay cuts, tax hikes, slashed pensions, worker firings and privatizations.

(Material from the Associated Press was used in this report)


KARDITSA, Greece - Months after investigations were started into the issuance of false COVID-19 documents, an administrative employee and a nurse at a health center in Greece's northern city of Karditsa were fired, the Health Ministry said.

Top Stories


BOSTON – The Holy Synod of the Patriarchate of Alexandria in its recent meeting dealt with the ecclesiastical coup perpetrated by the Patriarchate of Moscow in its canonical jurisdiction, calling it an “immoral invasion and intrusion.


NEW YORK - Some 21 years after it was destroyed in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States that brought down the Twin Towers in New York City, the new St Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church rising in its place is among the most eagerly awaited architectural openings of 2022.


STATEN ISLAND, NY – For yet another year, the community of Holy Trinity-St Nicholas in Staten Island honored couples celebrating 50+ years of marriage with a modest ceremony held at the church immediately following the Divine Liturgy on January 16.


SNF’s Health Initiative Will Support Child and Adolescent Mental Health

ATHENS - When we think about childhood injuries, we usually think of scratches, a few stitches, maybe even a broken bone.

Enter your email address to subscribe

Provide your email address to subscribe. For e.g. abc@xyz.com

You may unsubscribe at any time using the link in our newsletter.