24-Hour Strike Halts Ship Activity in Greece

Greece is taking another hit on the chin after a 24-hour strike on May 31 left dozens of ferries and cruise ships docked in Piraeus. The strike was in response to a government decision to lift restrictions on ships docking with foreign crews, port officials told Reuters.

This year has already been a bad one as strikes and protests have rippled across the country against government pay cuts and tax hikes (due to a 110 billion euro emergency loan from the EU/IMF).

This past April, the Greek government granted permission to non-EU-flagged cruise ships with non-Greek members to station at its ports in an effort to increase ships arriving to Greece and help the tourism industry (18 percent of the country's GDP comes from tourism). However unions feel that this decision will lead to job cuts at home.

"Only three out of five cruise ships expected at Piraeus arrived yesterday morning,'" writes Reuters. "Passengers disembarked normally, but dozens of protesting seamen and members of a communist labor group, Pame, blocked the gates of the port preventing other tourists from boarding the cruise ships."

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