Anti-austerity strikes hamper tourism in Greece

Anti-austerity strikes hamper tourism in Greece

Strikes by airspace control officers and petrol-carrying truck drivers are causing long delays and serious lack of fuel across Greece.

Last Sunday after their announced strike was ruled illegal by the high court, airspace control officers shifted their industrial action against austerity measures to a white strike which meant allowing airspace traffic according to the book. This has in turn led to long delays across greek airports with thousands of tourists stranded. At the same time petrol-carrying truck drivers have declared an indefinite strike against the austerity measures leading to long lines of cars at gas stations with provisions already starting to be exhausted before 24h of the strike have expired. At the same time, petrol station owners are also threatening to shut down shop in response to the austerity measures. Airspace control officers have announced a 24h strike for next Saturday, a move to which the government has responded by recalling officers from their summer vacation leave.

Both strikes are considered as particularly harmful to the ailing tourist industry of the country at the very peak of the summer season which is seeing considerably lower numbers of tourists and significant economic losses across what accounts in reality to almost 25% of the national economy.

At the same time, the IMF-EU Committee is once again performing a general survey-inspection of the Greek economy with rumors talking about further measures by September that will see the slashing of private sector wages by 20%. It must be noted that the hiring of educational staff for the next academic year has been slashed by half, with 7,000 job placements being lost.

Yet there is every sign that strikes like the above are increasingly unpopular with the general population whose much needed summer leaves are seriously compromised by such industrial action.

Posted By

Jul 26 2010 17:42


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Jul 27 2010 12:39

Update: According to the news, 80% of petrol stations across the country are dry, while truck drivers are moving their vehicles to blockade oil reserve tanks at the harbours. The mainstream media are calling the strike a "crash-test" for the government in the midst of the IMF-EU inspection visit.

Jul 27 2010 13:02

good to hear from you again, thanks for the updates.

Jul 27 2010 17:32

Solidarity with the Greek resistance against the heavy attacks on the living conditions of citizens.
Solidarity from the Netherlands.

Greece is everywhere

About 150 people participated in the demonstration that was organised by the initiative ‘Greece Is Everywhere’, last Saturday, July 17. The aim of the demonstration was to declare our solidarity with the Greeks protesting against the unprecedented austerity measures, and at the same time to be a first step of the resistance against the austerity policies being prepared in the Netherlands as well. Several left wing and anarchist groups participated in the demonstration.

Around 14.00 hour, about a hundred people had gathered at the Spui, a number that increased somewhat afterwards. Around 14.30 the demonstration began, with a number of banners, from among others Anarchistische Groep Nijmegen, the Anarchistisch Collectief Utrecht, Autonome Antifascisten and the Anarchist Black Cross, SAP/Grenzeloos among others. Of course, of the initiative was leading the demonstration. A number of red and black flags were also seen at the demo, along with a handful of members of the International Socialists carrying a few placards. The demonstration had a lively character, slogans against austerity measures in Greece and in the Netherlands (but strikingly often also against state and police) were shouted all along the way.

Big absentee, at the beginning: the police! In most cases, the police is present from the beginning, to ‘accompany and assist’ the proceedings. Well, not this time! This was really particular for such demonstrations. Only when the demonstrators had already walked for a time, agents on bike and motorcycle appeared, along with a police van. The police focused on one point: walking on the tram lines apparently was a sin! Things from the side of the police, however, didn’t go beyond suspicious looks and agitated phone calls between them.

The procession stopped at the Greek Tourist Office, where Evangelos, one of the Greek activists, briefly explained the situation in Greece. A slogan and a circled (A) were left behind on the windows. The demonstration continued to march – to finally reach the building of the central bank of the Netherlands. There, Dimitris Pavlopoulos, another activist, gave a speech, followed by a speaker from the Anarchistische Groep Amsterdam, a Greek anarchist, and Alex de Jong from SAP/Grenzeloos. People were asked to provide contact information in order to get involved in coming activities, and were invited to join the open assembly on follow-up-activities that followed the demo. A few dozen of people joined the assembly.

All together, it was a modest but at the same time lively demonstration. To be continued, hopefully, if possible with larger participation, if possible!

The meeting afterwards

After the demonstration, the initiative ‘Griekenland is Overal’ organized an open meeting to evaluate the demo and to discuss further actions. The meeting took place at the Federation of Democratic Associations of Turkish Workers in the Netherlands (DIDF). About 25-30 people participated with many of them coming for the first time to a meeting of the initiative. Among the organizers were people active in local groups against the budget cuts in Amsterdam, the committee Steun de Schoonmakers as well as other local groups in the Netherlands.

The topics that were discussed and the decisions that were taken are the following:

1. About the demo: there was some discussion and debate on whether the demo was succesful. Although we were hoping for a larger participation, the demo was considered a succesful first step in the struggle against the austerity measures in the Netherlands. Everybody was committed to work for larger and more succesful actions.

2. About the future of the initiative: we discussed and we agreed that Griekenland is Overal should continue to exist and organize more actions.

3.The relation between Griekenland is Overal and Rekening Retour was discussed. There was some discussion on whether Griekenland is Overal is needed since Rekening Retour exists, but there was a consensus that we should continue to act independently and at the same time participate at Rekening Retour. We arranged another meeting of the group on the 31/7, 19:00 in Utrecht (Autonomous Center, Wittevrouwensingel 76) to discuss in detail about our aims concerning the Rekening Retour.

4. As actions that we want to organize, we agreed on:

- propose to Rekening Retour to organize an action in Den Haag on the Prinsjesdag when the government will announce it’s plan for the budget cuts for 2011.

- organize information actions at the introduction days in universities in the second half of August.

- participate in local actions against the budget cuts. A participant from Amsterdam will invite us in a ‘solidarity festival’ of a local group against budget cuts in the municipality of Amsterdam on September 11th. A participant from Rotterdam will invite us to talk in a meeting in Rotterdam on August 8th.

Jul 27 2010 20:06

Update2: The truck drivers have announced the continuation of their strike, despite the gas-station owners pulling out. At the moment of writing in Salonica 7/10 of gas stations have shut due to lack of fuel, whereas most of the gas-stations in Athens have run out of unleaded. Due to lack of fuel means of mass transport in the mass tourist area of Chalkidiki have stopped running, while many ferry boats in the Ioanian Sea have stopped sailing as well. In several tourist destinations like Rhodes and Crete fuel-carrying truck drivers blockaded the harbors today causing even more stress to the tourist industry. The strike has hit hard on the car renting tourist sector with a plunge of more than 50% in top tourist destinations like Crete. There are also reports of Salonica's airport running short of aircraft fuel. The truck-drivers are to meet a governor rep tomorrow for further negotiations.

Jul 28 2010 04:12


The truck-drivers are to meet a governor rep tomorrow for further negotiations.

Presumably their union leaders - is this a Communist Party union? What's their record in negotiations? Are petrol tank drivers their "own" bosses or do they work for companies or are they a mix of the two? Are truck drivers doing anything independent of what the bureaucrats have recommended? Are there attempts to spread the strike? Sorry about the usual list of questions - no hurry about answering obviously (just want the answers by 7.15 a.m.Greek time , today - or ......). Don't know how relevant these two bits ("The Lorry Drivers Strike" section is about a quarter of the way down) of petrol truck drivers class struggle history in the UK are but...

As for the "Greek is everywhere" demo in Holland, any examples of the kind of leaflets linking the struggle there to what's happening in Holland or elsewhere? and what exemplary activities in Greece were given publicity on the demo? any other actions (strikes etc.) against austerity measures in Holland?

Jul 28 2010 07:18

@ Sam

From what I understand in Greece every truck-driver is his own boss. The government wants this abolished and companies instituted instead. The truck-drivers are resisting to this knowing it will mean them becoming slaves to some invisible boss. At the moment the government is threatening with "political conscription", meaning forced labour by threat of arrest if the truck drivers insist on striking. As usual the weakness of the strike is that there are no efforts for it to spread in other sectors (no their union is not controlled by the Communists, strange as that may be).

Note: the brutal assassination of the journalist and blogger Mr Giolias has been claimed by means of a typically blood-thirsty half-maniac communique by the Sect of Revolutionaries who now openly claim they are against "proletarian social-centrism", propagating some sort of individualistic militarism more close to Nazi vitalist mystique than any intelligible social-revolutionary tradition.

Jul 28 2010 18:15

Update3: After the strikers refused to come to the negotiating table with the government as a response of the latter setting as a condition of negotiating the end of the strike, the PM has declared a state of civil conscription upon the truck drivers. This means that orders of forced labour will be handed on individual drivers who will then have to obey or face penalties including imprisonment. As now the vast majority of gas station are totally dry of fuel, the country is holding its breath to see what the reaction of the strikers will be to such authoritarian emergency measures.

Jul 28 2010 23:30

We must support the strike of the Truck drivers.
Maybe we can help them organizing with juridical and financial support!!

Support the Greek resistance