Ferry services to the Greek islands were cut off Thursday morning after the seafarers’ union went on strike, which the court ruled illegal.
Union members have blocked ferry access at the main port of Piraeus, preventing anyone from boarding. Hundreds of passengers with suitcases gathered at the port, claiming that the ferry companies had not informed them of the strike. Heated disputes broke out between the passengers and the striking workers, which almost turned into fights.
The seafarers’ union has declared a 24-hour strike to protest a labor bill under parliamentary debate that workers say infringes on their rights. Other seafarers’ unions postponed the strike until June 10, as part of the general strike that day.
“Today’s strike, as you know, was declared illegal,” said the Minister of Shipping and Policy of the Islands, Yannis Plakiotakis. “Choosing one union to go beyond the law is a wrong tactic that targets passengers and does not serve the union movement.”
He said the ministry intervened, after which the union yielded and allowed passengers to board. In the end, the ferries set sail, several hours late.
Given the difficult situation in the tourism market, such strikes can significantly worsen the situation with tourists in the country. Who in their right mind would go to a country where unions go on strike without warning?