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Greek ferry workers launch 24-hour strike

September 2, 2018

After eight years of frozen salaries, sailors on Greece's ferries have called a 24-hour strike. The stoppage comes at the end of the busy summer holiday season.

A ferry in Greece
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/A. Angelopoulou

Greek sailors announced plans to walk off the job for 24 hours on Monday after employers rejected their demand for a 5 percent pay raise.

The federation of Greek seamen said in a statement there would be no ferries operating in the Aegean or Ionian seas, where a number of islands rely on sea transport.

Ferry workers were subject to an eight-year pay freeze under Greece's international bailout program, which ended last month. To avoid bankruptcy, the country took on rescue loans worth €260 billion ($300 billion) that were tied to austerity measures and spending cuts.

Read moreGreece: Alexis Tsipras hails 'new era' after debt crisis

The seamen's union launched the stoppage after bosses responded to their request for a 5 percent salary rise by offering a 1 percent increase this year, followed by another 1 percent bump from next June.

Greek radio reported that last-ditch talks aimed to avert the strike collapsed on Sunday.

Tourists unlikely to be stranded

Although the European summer holiday season is winding down, the Greek islands still attract a significant number of visitors in early September. It's also a time when many Greeks are returning to cities on the mainland after a vacation on the islands.

Read moreGreece hopes for better times as it exits EU bailout program

Authorities said they did not expect many tourists to be stranded, however, as shipping companies did not sell tickets for Monday and had already informed travelers last week of the possibility of a walkout. Ferry operators also scheduled extra trips on Sunday to meet demand.

Greek society shows wear after cuts

nm/aw (AFP, AP, dpa)

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