June 27 - Hotel workers stage a 24-hour strike as the tourism industry scrambles to recover from the economic crisis and a downturn affected by Greece's political instability. Ciara Sutton reports.
"We will not bow our heads" - that's the message from Greek hotel workers staging a 24 hour strike. The unions are protesting against new laws which put wage reductions and job cuts in the hands of employers. (SOUNDBITE) (English) 28-YEAR-OLD HOTEL WORKER, ODYSSEUS PHILIPPATOS, SAYING: "They want to reduce our salaries and now that they are making staff unemployed, they are trying to make the rest of us produce more and more to cover our colleagues lost positions," The strike is another blow to the tourism industry which has seen a dramatic decline in the number of holiday makers. In last five months the number of foreign visitors to Greece has dropped by over 8 percent. Visitors to Athens from Germany, the Netherlands and Scandinavia are also down at 14 and a half percent. George Tsakiris from Greece's Chamber of Hotels says they must fight to win back tourists. (SOUNDBITE)(English) GEORGE TSAKIRIS, PRESIDENT OF THE HELLENIC CHAMBER OF HOTELS SAYING: "We missed a lot of requests, tourist requests, during the first five months of the year and now we are running to make up for lost time and lost clients. We hope that by the end of the season we'll be able to minimize the losses and finish the season with a total loss of 19 percent in the turnover and ten percent on the arrivals." Hotel association President Alexandros Vassilikos says the political chaos has been putting people off. (SOUNDBITE) (English) ALEXANDROS VASSILIKOS, PRESIDENT OF ATHENS-ATTICA HOTEL ASSOCIATION SAYING: "Unfortunately we have been through this winter and three-four winters before very much bad press and this is what we have to deal with today. On the other hand there is very good value for money in Greece, all this bad press has driven prices downwards a lot." Since recession set in five years ago thousands of tourism jobs have been cut and many hotels have closed. With tourism accounting for around 15 percent of output and one in five jobs a revival is vital. Ciara Sutton, Reuters