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Port workers have been mobilized as well

05 February 2013 / 22:02:03  GRReporter
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The government has again resorted to the extreme measure of civil mobilization after the Pan-Hellenic Seamen’s Federation (PNO) has decided to continue its strike actions. The talks between the government and the trade unionists continued for almost a week, but did not reach a consensus.

On Monday evening, Merchant Marine and Aegean Minister Kostas Mousouroulis had warned that if the port and marine workers did not stop the blockades in the country, the government would take extreme measures. On Tuesday, after a meeting that lasted a few hours, the separate unions in the Pan-Hellenic Seamen’s Federation had to vote "for" or "against" the extension of the strike. The positive vote won by only one vote and the Pan-Hellenic Seamen’s Federation announced another 48-hour strike.

Mousouroulis kept his promise and officially announced in the later hours of the day the mobilization of strikers. Under the new conditions, they must return to work or be prepared to serve three months in jail for disobedience.

The latest mobilization of Greek sailors and port workers was announced two years ago and ended in November 2012. Civil mobilization of workers in this sector has been applied at least four times since 2001 as reported by Eleftherotipia.

"The government made all efforts to find solutions to the problems related to the employment in the sector. Unfortunately, the Pan-Hellenic Seamen’s Federation has narrowly decided that it needs to serve specific political interests and has left no room for dialogue", said the Minister in his address. He stresses that the Ministry has pledged to assist for the resumption of the collective labour agreements of shipping company employees. It has given assurances that it would keep the rendering of healthcare services from the special insurance fund of sailors and has committed itself to create support programmes to stimulate the employment in the civil fleet.

The delivery of civil summonses will begin on Tuesday evening and the employees who will receive them must go to work at six o'clock on Wednesday morning.

"We oppose measures such as civil mobilization. Employees should be free to decide for themselves. Mobilization of citizens in peaceful times only exacerbates the problems that already exist", said the general secretary of the Federation Yiannis Halas. He insists that the government is responsible for this situation and states that the mobilization will not stop the protests. "In the last two years, we have had 31 strikes", reminds Halas.

Meanwhile, citizens and producers from the island areas of Greece have warned that they cannot withstand the blockade of the national shipping transport for very long. "We want to make it quite clear, without exaggeration, that the islanders have passed the limits of their endurance and tolerance. This informal war against us must stop once and for all", reads the statement of producers from the island of Crete and the Cycladic Islands, cited by Mega.

The producers from Crete emphasize that every day that the goods stay in the ports results in losses of between 1.5 to 2 million euro for the island economy. "Our experience of the past year has shown us that the produce that is not completely rotten after long days of strike is sold at less than 30% of the cost of production", says the mayor of Ierapetras Sifis Anastasakis cited by Ethnos.

In solidarity with the demands of sailors and port workers, the trade union of private sector workers (GSEE) has announced a 24-hour strike on Wednesday 6 February, which will be valid only for the region of Attica. "GSEE calls on the government to withdraw the measure of civil mobilization. We support the just fight of marine workers against the hopeless policy that is leading to poverty and is weakening the economy and society", reads the statement of the national trade union. The trade union of public workers (ADEDY) will also support the strike and the majority of public and municipal offices are expected to remain closed on Wednesday.

Tags: SocietyStrikesPortsPiraeusShipping workers
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