MALI: The General Confederation of Greek Workers (GSEE) has announced a 24-hour general strike beginning November 12. In addition to other effects of a stoppage by the union’s two million members, the strike is expected to shutter all major Greek ports and to suspend ferry service to Greece’s islands.
A previous strike from November 2-5 by the island ferry seafarer’s union PNO halted the transportation of refugees from Syria and other countries, thousands of whom have arrived in the Greek islands this year.
The stoppage in the flow of migrants put considerable pressure on the union to resume work, but PNO extended the length of its strike, saying that the government had made only “vague, worthless promises” in talks. PNO was protesting proposed cuts to pension plans and an increase in the retirement age.
Despite pressure to transport refugees, the PNO has announced its intention to participate in the GSEE general strike on November 12.
The port strike by longshoremen will shutter all major Greek ports to vessel traffic and movements.
The strike is part of a response by Greek unions to the proposed pension and retirement changes, and also to the proposed sale of the ports of Thessaloniki and Piraeus.
Plans for privatization and sale of the two ports date back to 2011, and the GSEE-affiliated longshoremen have been vocal opponents of the change throughout the process.
Greek tug crews have also voiced opposition, and carried out short interruptions of berthings in October in protest.