Greece: Taxi strike ends after blockades

AP News
Posted: Aug 05, 2011 10:23 AM
Greece: Taxi strike ends after blockades

Striking Greek taxi owners on Friday ended a nearly three-week protest that has rattled the economically battered country's essential tourism industry.

The protesters had staged blockades on highways, ports and airports around Greece since July 18, angry at plans to open up the profession to more competition _ a requirement of an international bailout from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund.

Representatives of taxi owners associations Friday voted 13-4 on Friday to end the crippling strike after municipal authorities agreed to delay issuing new licenses until a new round of negotiations between the protesters and the government, expected later this month, has ended.

Before the decision was announced, protesting cabbies from the southern city of Patras, occupies toll stations on a nearby highway, allowing motorists through without paying toll fees.

In Athens, taxis resumed work immediately, easing problems at the capital's international airport, which is also accessible by bus and metro services.

Tourism industry representatives had repeatedly called for an end to the strike, concerned that the protest was hurting an increase this year in cruise-ship arrivals and travelers to regional airports.