Greek dockers strike against privatisation of port operations
THE Greek dockers unions are calling for a 24-hour strike against the government's plan of privatisating the state-owned port operations... Wednesday, 15.Jun.2011, 01:02 (GMT+3)
THE Greek dockers unions are calling for a 24-hour strike against the government's plan of privatisating the state-owned port operations as a measure to raise funds to relieve the national debt crisis.
Greek government plans to sell 75 per cent shares of its two largest port authorities - Piraeus with an annual throughput of 864,000 TEU in 2010 and Thessaloniki, 273,000 TEU - by the end of the year, according to Newark's Journal of Commerce. Also, it will sell 43-66 per cent of smaller ports starting next year.
But the Union of Port Workers call this "an incomprehensible and criminal political act."
Facing tremendous pressure from the European Union, the IMF and the European Central Bank, the Greek government has been forced to implement stringent measures to cut debt, and has shown no sign of retreat.
Piraeus port director George Anomeritis backed the union position, saying privatisation is an "obsolete business model" and urged the government control at least 51 per cent of Greece's largest port.
He said 96 per cent of EU ports are currently owned by state, or by regional or municipal authorities.
China's Cosco Pacific paid US$5 billion to grant the 35-year managerial right to run two of the Piraeus port's three terminals last June.
Cosco said it plans to transform Piraeus into a major Mediterranean transshipment hub.