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Greek ferry strike hits tourism

Tuesday, April 10, 2012 - 01:29

Apr.10 - Greek ferry workers begin a 48-hour strike leaving travellers stranded during one of the country's most important holidays and ignoring calls from the government not disrupt the key tourism sector. Hayley Platt reports

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Easter week is the start of the peak tourist season in Greece. But a 48-hour strike by these ferry workers over pay and health care mean families won't be travelling very far. The union's were out in force at the country's main commercial port Piraeus. They say they sympathise but they won't back down. (SOUNDBITE) (Greek) PRESIDENT OF SEAMEN'S FEDERATION, ANTONIS DALAKOGIORGOS, SAYING: "We understand the problem but we have no other option. Parliament is about to be dissolved, and we are officially on our way to elections. That has forced us to go ahead with the strike, which I would like to note, is a warning one." Tourism is one of Greece's biggest earners, providing one in five jobs. It also makes up 16 percent of the country's 230 billion euro economy - now in it's third consecutive year of recession. The government condemned the strike as did the National Confederation of Greek Commerce. (SOUNDBITE)(Greek) PRESIDENT OF NATIONAL CONFEDERATION OF GREEK COMMERCE, VASSILIS KORKIDIS, SAYING: "It will destroy the Easter tourist business for all the Greek islands. It will cause inconvenience for thousands of travellers. It will not allow thousands of farmers to sell their products at a time when things are very difficult." The Greek Orthodox Church celebrates Easter Sunday on April 15. Many Greeks usually head off early to make the most of the break. But thousands have now cancelled their travel plans because of the strike - depriving the economy of much needed revenue. Hayley Platt, Reuters.

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Greek ferry strike hits tourism

Tuesday, April 10, 2012 - 01:29