SYRIZA govt’s biggest privatisation step infuriates unions
Athens’ seaport is to be sold to Chinese conglomerate Cosco, after the board reached an agreement with the Greek government last Friday.
“This important amended agreement between the two sides comes at a crucial time for Greece at the end of a difficult season and the start of a new, more optimistic one, where emphasis will be given to restarting the economy,” Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said.
The €1.5 billion deal will include Cosco paying the sum of €368.5 million for the attainment of the seaport’s 67 per cent, which includes the main stake of the Piraeus Port Authority, plus investments with a projected worth of €350 million.
This major privatisation step was heavily criticised by the country’s main opposition party, New Democracy.
Spokesperson George Koumoutsakos accused the prime minister of “signing on to neoliberal policies”.
“We welcome his delayed return to reality,” he said.
Meanwhile, hundreds of port workers, members of the Greek Federation of Port Employees (OMYLE) and a dockworkers union held a rally in central Athens.
“The government, despite its pre-electoral commitments, is proceeding to sell off the port. They threw away all the declarations regarding public ports and took advantage of fights between harbour workers in order to take power, and now throws parties to embrace the most neoliberal privatisation,” the union’s statement said.