Greek seafarers to join national strike.
SHIPS face being tied up throughout Greece on Thursday as seafarers opt to join a general strike that looks set to cripple the beleaguered nation.
The executive council of the Panhellenic Seamen"s Federation (PNO), the umbrella group for 14 seafaring unions, said the decision will affect all categories of vessel and the 24 hour strike will end at midnight on Thursday.
A rash of strikes taking place this week, leading up to the March 11 all-day general stoppage, is in protest against a package of measures Greece"s centre-left government has been forced to adopt in a bid to tackle a mounting debt crisis and budget deficit.
The country needs to borrow more than ?53bn ($72bn) in 2010 as it struggles under a ?300bn national debt, the height of which was disguised until prime minister George Papandreou came to power last October.
PNO leaders said the action was intended to join the rest of the union movement in protesting against measures that allegedly attacked workers as ?easy victims... without touching the banking system and big capital?.
At the same time, the federation called for action to alleviate specific problems facing the profession.
The action was aimed at attracting young people to the seafaring profession and retaining them, upgrading maritime education and pushing the authorities to strictly protect working conditions on board the country"s ferries, the PNO said.
The federation also sought the completion of a new independent employment office for seafarers, signing of satisfactory collective agreements for this year and strengthening of pensions for retired seafarers, among other demands.