Greek civil aviation workers call strike against layoffs

Reuters News
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Posted: Aug 02, 2013 1:28 PM
Greek civil aviation workers call strike against layoffs

ATHENS (Reuters) - Greek civil aviation workers plan to disrupt flights for three days next week in protest at government plans to fire 300 airport staff, their union said on Friday.

Greek labor unions have gone on strike repeatedly since early 2010, when the country was plunged into a debt crisis and sought a bailout from the European Union and International Monetary Fund to avert bankruptcy.

The latest action, at the height of the tourist season, is against Athens's plans to shrink its spendthrift civil service, widely blamed for the crisis, by firing thousands of workers.

The union representing the workers, OSYPA, plans to stage 24-hour rolling strikes on August 9-11.

Greece relies heavily on tourism to help pull it out of a deep recession but the strike will mostly affect smaller airports.

Traffic at major Greek airports is not expected to be disrupted because air traffic controllers are not participating.

Plans to fire the workers were "illegal, unconstitutional and beyond reason", OSYPA said. In the past, Greek courts have ruled strikes affecting tourism illegal, forcing workers to call them off.

Firing public sector workers as part of measures Athens promised its lenders in return for billions of euros in aid is an incendiary issue in Greece, which is stuck in a sixth year of a recession that has pushed unemployment to a record 27 percent, twice the euro zone average.

(Reporting by Karolina Tagaris and Renee Maltezou; Editing by Alistair Lyon)