Peiraeus dockworkers resume strikes

Peiraeus dockworkers have resumed striking against the sell out of the largest pier of Greece's main harbour to COSCO after negotiations collapse.

Submitted by taxikipali on November 2, 2009

The Peiraeus dockworkers of Pier II of Greece's main commercial harbour have called a 48h strike starting Tuesday 3 November, thus resuming the industrial action that had seen sea commerce freeze for more than two weeks in early October.

According to the dockworkers, the strike comes as a result of the Minister of the Economy, Ms Katseli's failure to guarantee a negotiation of wages, work positions and social security benefits based on the collective contract of the workers with the State, now leasing the harbour to COSCO.
Ms Katseli has promised to try to improve the conditions of the collective contract with COSCO, a thing deemed unacceptable by the workers.Workers' representatives have stressed that it is absurd for the government to sell out one of the most profitable businesses of the public sector, accusing the last government management of the harbour, responsible for handing it over to COSCO, of gross economic mismanagement.

The development has come as a serious blow to the new Socialist government which had gloated of solving the dispute peacefully. The leadership of the governing party, PaSoK, is also worried about the political impact of the strike, as OMYLE, one of the big dockworkers unions calling it, is controlled by its own umbrella union, thus signaling the first base-of-the-Party revolt against the administration. Ms Katseli has declared that she fails "to perceive the legitimacy of the strike".



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Submitted by taxikipali on November 4, 2009

The dockworkers have called another 48h strike for Thursday and Friday, extended till Sunday (legally weekend industrial action does not count as a "strike" but as a "withdrawal of overtime work". This means the biggest part of export and import in Peiraeus will be once again facing immense pressure. The dockworkers demand an immediate 2-month freeze to COSCO operations in the harbour area during which unforced and equal dialogue can develop. The workers will meet on Sunday to decide on extending their strike in the case of their demands not being met.

The government seems reluctant at the moment to force a "workers conscription" which could force dockworkers to work or face arrest. Instead it has called on the ex-Minister of the Commercial Fleet (the Ministry has been abolished by the Socialists now in power) to facilitate the discussions between COSCO and the workers, as the new general harbour master. The greek government will be hardly pressed for a solution next week with the president of COSCO visiting the political leadership of the country for more lobbying on the Chinese side.


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Submitted by Steven. on November 5, 2009

Thanks for the update! Best of luck to them.