(Greece) – Greek aviation workers plan to go on strike starting next week for a total of five days to protest the leasing of 14 regional airports located throughout the country. At the end or 2015, Greece signed a deal that would secure the privatization of the regional airports, which granted a German company, Fraport, the right to manage and lease these airports. The contract was worth approximately 1.2 billion euros. The company is now considering leasing at least 23 others.
The Civil Aviation Workers Union in Greece, or OSYPA, has announced the strike, which will take place from June 20, 2016 to June 25, 2016. The airports will operate with only an emergency staff in place, and the strikes are expected to disrupt flights for the duration. Privatization deals such as these have been a requirement for all three of Greece’s bailouts. However, critics of privatization have argued that they haven’t yielded a lot of revenue, and that the cons outweigh the pros. Still, the current Greek government feels that they need the bailout money so they have agreed to comply with the privatization.
Aviation workers aren’t the only ones to go on strike to protest aspects of the bailout packages. Port workers, railway operators, and civil medical workers have all gone on strike in recent weeks. Greece has met the conditions for their third bailout since 2010 and is set to receive their first payment within the next few weeks. The country needs these funds to pay loans given to them by the International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank. The austerity measures that go along with these bailouts, such as pension cuts and tax increases, have been the subject of much debate and have led to strikes and protests. The Civil Aviation Workers Union is concerned that the privatization deals at the airports will lead to salary cuts and job losses.