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Trade unionists prevent potential investors from exploring airports

12 March 2014 / 15:03:43  GRReporter
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The Greek trade unionists are doing their best to prevent the privatizations in the country about which there is much talk and writing, but little is done.

Over the past two weeks, potential investors have faced, almost daily, the "anger" of the trade unionists from the federation of employees in civil aviation who have prevented them from entering and exploring the sites in which they want to invest and have not allowed their colleagues to issue the necessary documents for these visits.
The most recent example was "Macedonia" Airport in Thessaloniki on Monday when, headed by president of the federation Vassilis Alevizopoulos who had arrived from Athens for this purpose, the trade unionists occupied the office of the airport manager to prevent the potential investors exploring the premises.
Union members of the local organization of employees had hampered representatives of the consortium, involving the Greek companies METKA and AEGEAN, and a company from Argentina from exploring Thessaloniki airport. The protesters shouted slogans against the privatization and did not allow the representatives to enter. Due to the tensions, deputy manager of the airport Yiannis Voiatzis was able to show a small part of the premises to the representatives of the consortium, which is preparing to submit a binding offer in June.

A few days earlier, on 5 March, the representatives of other potential investors had not been able to see anything, as the trade unionists, led by the president of the federation, had completely blocked their access to the airport premises. Only the representatives of the group of companies Kopelouzos who visited the airport on 25 February were able to explore the site normally.

In connection with the conclusion of concession agreements for various parts of the airport, the premises are in the process of modernization, which includes extending the runway by 1,000 metres, into the sea of ​​the Thermaikos Gulf. This will allow large aircraft making transatlantic flights to land in, and take off from, Thessaloniki. The project should have been completed in 2011 but now it is expected that it will be completed in 2015. It is worth noting that 4.5 million passengers passed through Thessaloniki airport in 2013, this year's forecast being for an increase.

The federation of employees in civil aviation held "symbolic" occupations of the airports on the islands of Rhodes, Santorini and Chania in Crete too.
Their first action took place in Chania on 27 February and it brought together a large number of members of the federation from all over Greece. Along with local hoteliers, representatives of the district administration and other members of the local institutions they delayed by four hours the visit of the representatives of the potential investors from the consortium Fraport-Slentel.

Immediately thereafter, the Privatization Fund issued a release stating that the decision to use the airports in the country is firm and final, as this will modernize their infrastructure and improve the services.

However, on 4 March, there was another case of trade union resistance, again at Chania airport. Nevertheless, the representatives of the consortium Corporation America - METKA were able to see the site without any problems.

On 6 March, the trade unionists were able to delay by about an hour the visit of Fraport-Slentel representatives to the airport in Santorini. On the same day, representatives of Athens International Airport were prevented from visiting Rhodes. The same trade union tactic was applied during the third visit of potential investors to Chania airport on 6 March when the visit of the representatives of the consortium that manages the airport in Athens was delayed by about an hour.

Tags: EconomyPrivatizationAirportsTrade union protests
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