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Thousands stranded on Greek islands due to ferry crew strike

September 3, 2018
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A man fishes in front of docked ferries during seamen's unions strike at the port of Piraeus, near Athens, Monday, Sept. 3, 2018. Ferries are due to be halted by a 24-hour strike Monday, as unions seek the return of benefits and pay scales scrapped or frozen during eight years of international bailouts that ended in late August. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greek ferry crews on Monday decided to extend for at least one more day a strike that has left tens of thousands of travelers stranded on the country’s popular island destinations.

The main PNO crew union said that ferries will remain confined to port until 6 a.m. (0300GMT) Wednesday. The union said it proposed to extend its protest if its demands for pay rises and tax breaks are not met.

Ferry companies have said that Monday’s strike would affect about 180,000 people who had booked to travel to or from the islands, which include many of Greece’s most popular tourist destinations such as Mykonos, Santorini and Crete.

Many of the smaller and more remote islands have no air connections with the rest of the country, and a protracted ferry strike would lead to shortages of goods.

Unions are seeking a 5 percent pay rise after an eight-year pay freeze due to Greece’s debt crisis.

Tourism is a key earner in Greece, with record arrivals expected this year.

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