ATHENS – Furious they haven’t been paid, some 600 workers at the Elefsina Shipyard blocked the entrance to the site and barred managers from leaving.
The employees say they haven’t been paid for nine months, except for one check of 250 euros in August. They met last week with Defense Ministry officials because the shipyards carry out work for the Hellenic Navy but the lack of progress led to them blocking the shipyard’s main gate with their cars on Oct. 20.
The company’s Chairman, Nikos Tavoularis, told Kathimerini that the shipyard is owed some 40 million euros by the Defense Ministry. “Only the state can solve this issue,” he said, accusing the government of “searching for excuses not to pay.”
When Prime Minister Antonis Samaras went to the Hellenic Shipyards in Skaramangas west of Athens earlier this month he described the country’s shipyards as “weapons of growth.”
He said that the period of “inertia and obsolescence is giving way to a new era.” But unemployed dock worker Mouzafer Palikar told the Bloomberg news agency the words meant nothing and that the government was doing almost nothing to help the shipyard employees.
“There’s no return to growth here,” said Palikar, whose wife and two adult sons are also without work. “There was money before. We worked hard for it, a lot of hours, but we didn’t mind. Now there’s nothing.”