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New wave of anti-austerity strikes in Greece hit tourism industry

(Xinhua)

10:39, April 10, 2012

ATHENS, April 9 (Xinhua) -- With fresh wave of anti-austerity nationwide strikes starting in Greece on Monday, representatives of the Greek tourism industry began to count the losses during the Holy Week for Christian Orthodox Church ahead of Easter.

The unions of seamen announced on Monday that they will go ahead with their protest over salaries and pension cuts, following lengthy talks with the government that ended in a deadlock.

Development, Shipping Minister Anna Diamantopoulou said that the strike action was "unjustified," adding that the government would do everything to protect the general interest.

Despite calls from tourist entrepreneurs to suspend the strike, coastal ferries and passenger ships will remain docked at ports during the "passion week", local media reported.

Holidaymakers are expected to face more problems once they reached their destination, as on Thursday employees in the intercity buses will hold a 24-hour strike protesting lay-offs and salary cuts.

The austerity measures, promoted by the government over the past two years to tackle a severe debt crisis, have provoked major reactions from every labor sector with continuous strikes and demonstrations that have had an impact on the tourism industry.

Representatives of hotel owners on Monday said that in particular the seamen's strike has dealt a new major blow to Greek tourism, as there is a 30 percent to 50 percent decline in reservations in the Greek islands compared to last year.

Since May 2010, Greece has been kept afloat with international bailout packages in exchange for harsh austerity and reform policies.

After securing a second vital bailout package this March, more measures need to be taken to meet the deficit reduction and growth targets agreed with International Monetary Fund and European Union lenders.

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