Taxi Strike in Greece Causes Havoc for Cruisers

July 21, 2011 on 8:54 am | In Greece Travel,, air travel, cruise travel, strikes, strikes and travel, things travelers need to know, travel alert, travel news, vacation travel | 2 Comments

The taxi driver strike in Greece that we reported on Monday has been extended and is causing chaos for travelers, especially those on cruise ships.

The Belfast Telegraph reports that taxi drivers have blockaded the port at Corfu and will not allow tour buses through to take the cruisers on their tour of the island. The same appears to have happened at Iraklio on Crete. Those travelers who have paid thousands of dollars for the “cruise of a lifetime” must not be too happy with the striking drivers. Finally, another set of taxi drivers have blocked major roads out of the city of Thessaloniki and similar actions are happening around the country.

Revenues from tourism have been one of the relative strengths in the economy of Greece, but the civil unrest this summer is causing a precipitous decline in these monies. Greece can be a wonderful vacation spot, but it appears that summer of 2011 may not be quite the right time for a visit.
The taxi strike must appear as a crushing blow to the many hotel chains, restaurants and tour companies that had been hoping that 2011 would be a comeback year for tourism in Greece. Unfortunately, it appears that goal will not be realized. We can only hope that 2012 is better for the country, its travel industry and for the millions of our fellow tourists interested in visiting this sometimes enchanting country.

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New Round of London Tube Strikes?

June 9, 2011 on 8:06 am | In London, London travel,, UK Travel, United Kingdom, air travel, strikes, strikes and travel, things travelers need to know, travel news, vacation travel | 2 Comments

Tube drivers plan to strike the London Underground System on June 19, 27, 29 and July 1. The work stoppages will occur at various times on each of these days, although not for a complete day on any of the dates. The disruptions in Tube service are certain to bring chaos to transportation in London. See this article in the Guardian for details on the times of the strikes and the reason behind the action.

On the strike dates, travelers who rely on the Underground for travel connecting to Heathrow terminals or to trains that connect to Heathrow terminals may need to make other arrangements and should plan accordingly.

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France Travel – Ouch

October 19, 2010 on 11:05 am | In Europe travel, France Travel, Paris Travel,, strikes, strikes and travel, things travelers need to know, travel warnings | 1 Comment

We expect that you have noticed that the strikes in France, mentioned in our last few blogs, have intensified and do not appear to be letting up. Indeed, a BBC reporter has indicated that he sensed a change in the atmosphere of the strikes and felt that it is possible the demonstrations will turn “angry”. See this report by the BBC for more details.

To show you how bad things are in France, recently a Celebrity Cruise ship on day one of 12-night Mediterranean Cruise was found to have a damaged rudder when docked at Nice, France. The cruise was canceled, but rail services is now so unpredictable in France that the passengers were offered only a 10 hour bus ride to Barcelona, rather than a seat on a high-speed TGV to Paris for a return home.

Our recommendation is that you cancel immediate plans for travel to France. Wait until the strikes and petrol shortage are resolved and, only then, consider returning to the country. We understand the emotions of the strikers and the establishment, but note that the situation is a great loss for tourists and those who depend on them for income, as this is a particularly delightful and popular time of the year to explore the wonders of France.

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More Strikes in France

October 11, 2010 on 10:26 am | In France Travel, Paris Travel,, international travel, personal travel, strikes, strikes and travel, things travelers need to know, travel warnings | 2 Comments

The strike season appears to be turning into a year around phenomenon in France, as a major strike has been called for Tuesday that is expected to grind transportation to a halt countrywide (including air, rail and Metro (in Paris)). Further, the strikers will demonstrate again on Saturday. Another aspect of this strike is that it is an “open strike”, which means that the strike could be renewed daily by a vote of the workers supporting the effort.

Most flights into Orly and Charles de Gaulle airports will be canceled, so if you have plans to fly to, from or within France, you should contact your airlines to see what is possible.

This week’s strike in France is a specific response to the Upper House of the French system of government voting to change the minimum retirement age from 60 to 62 and the age for a full pension from 65 to 67. Read more details about the strike and the issues behind it at Yahoo news.

If you will be traveling in France tomorrow, avoid gatherings associated with the strike. It is expected that the strike will be large (as all unions seem to be supporting it) and disrupt the normal flow of daily life throughout the country.

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London Tube Strikes Set Through November

August 26, 2010 on 9:21 pm | In London, London travel,, UK Travel, strikes, strikes and travel, things travelers need to know | Comments Off

The staff of the London Underground are going to strike in September, October and November. At present strikes are set for September 6, October 3 and November 28. Some of the strikes will initiate at 1700 on the dates set and run for 24-hours, while other unions will start their strikes on the same dates, but not until 2100 hours (for 24-hours). Strikes of the forecast magnitude will cause considerable difficulties for those seeking transit services in London on these dates. For more details see this article by SkyNews.

Although the strikes will be only be of a day’s duration, they will cause chaos in London. If you will be in London on any of these dates, be prepared to hoof it, as the buses will be overwhelmed with passengers. Of course, some planned strikes never materialize and we can only hope that a settlement will be reached soon.

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Air Traffic Strike in France

July 20, 2010 on 8:09 am | In France, France Travel,, air travel, strikes, things travelers need to know, travel news | Comments Off

A twenty-four hour air traffic control strike in France will start tonight and end Thursday morning. It is expected that the strike will not affect long haul flights, but shorter flights from Charles DeGaulle (Roissy) and Orly may see a reduction in frequency. Unfortunately, stormy weather is predicted for Wednesday, which may exacerbate the problem. By the way, the strike reflects the desire of the French air traffic controllers to not be a part of the a proposed integrated system of air traffic control that would cover all Europe. See this article at Reuters for detailed information.

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Strikes Continue In Greece

March 17, 2010 on 8:52 am | In Greece Travel,, strikes, strikes and travel, things travelers need to know, travel news | 2 Comments

Greece is reeling from a fresh round of strikes. Doctors are striking over government payments they feel are being delayed without reason and, as a result, many state-run hopsitals are on “emergency” staffing. At the same time workers in the power industry are striking and this has caused blackouts in part of the country. Not to be left out, government workers joined the fray claiming that the government was unfairly focusing on the public sector to remedy the problems with its economic policies. Oh, gas stations will be on strike tomorrow. See the Kathimerini Times for more detail.

We know this is the time of year that many of you will be planning your vacations and Greece and the Greek Islands are always a popular choice. We think the strikes will make travel in Greece more difficult this year and you may want to limit your time on the mainland, if the financial crisis has not cooled down by the summer.

Strikes are a political reality in Greece and we suspect you can still have a great vacation in Greece this year, as long as you plan ahead. The most critical issue for travelers will be transportation. Make sure that you have back-up plans for air travel or for the use of ferries between the islands. Go with the flow – if you cannot travel and spend another day touring the attractions where you are “stuck”. If there is a strike that influences transportation, it is likely that other travelers will not be able to get to where you are and you may be able to extend your accommodations for another night with little problem. If you are driving the mainland, make sure you gas-up your car daily, as strikes will undoubtedly close petrol stations or influence the availability of fuel.

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Stikes and Travel in Greece

February 4, 2010 on 2:57 pm | In Greece Travel, strikes, strikes and travel, things travelers need to know | Comments Off

Greece has been unusally hard hit by the current economic downturn and the problem is reflecting itself in strikes, border stoppages and other unrest. See this article from the BBC on the current strike.

At present the budget deficit in Greece is over four times higher than Eurozone rules permit. The government of Greece is responding to these measures with an austerity budget that will limit governmental spending, increas the retirement age and add a higher gas tax. It is likely that further measures will be needed to rectify the situation and, if this is the case, the citizens of Greece will likely respond with wide-spread strikes that influence both the public and private sectors.

The 2010 travel season in Greece might be a little rocky. In normal years, strikes in Greece seem to pop-up frequently, although most do not last long. It is possible that this season will be the exception, with more and longer strikes. Farmers have already closed roads to Bulgaria as a show of their unhappiness with the government’s lack of financial subsidies and we suspect other strikes will occur this spring and summer

If you are going to travel to Greece this year, be prepared. If your travel is interrupted by a strike, well, we can’t think of a better place to be stuck for a few extra days. Perhaps the best way to try to avoid the influence of strikes on your next vacation in Greece, is to take a cruise of the Greek Islands and let the cruise line worry about the strikes.

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Strike in Ireland

November 24, 2009 on 7:55 am | In Ireland travel,, strikes, things travelers need to know | 1 Comment

The Republic of Ireland was on strike today and it was the largest public strike in 30 years. Ireland’s economy has been particularly hard hit by the downturn and a decline in property values is causing considerable angst in the country. The government has been cutting benefits, pensions and a host of services in order to attempt to balance its budget, but apparently has been doing so with enough consultation with those being influenced by these actions.

It is likely that airports will expereince slowdowns and it that customs services will be significantly understaffed as a result of today’s strike. Be prepared for slow going. Many hospitals have closed to appointments today and the Garda (police) have indicated that speeding tickets will not be given today. While today’s strike will cause difficulty for travelers, it may be just the buildup to further government cuts expected in mid-December and more civil unrest.

If you are planning travel in Ireland, keep an eye on the local press and be prepared for additional strikes in December.

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French Fishing Strike Cancelled

April 16, 2009 on 7:30 am | In Europe travel, France Travel, London travel, Normandy, UK Travel, strikes, strikes and travel, things travelers need to know | Comments Off

The French Fishermen whose strike had closed the ports of Calais, Dunkirk and Boulogne earlier this week have called off their strike action effective immediately.  Ferry service from Dover to these port has resumed and is slowly returning to normal. The proposed strike action against the Eurostar  has also been cancelled.

While this is good news for travelers, it appears that “negotiations” between the fishmermen and the government of France are ongoing.  It is a time honored tradition in France to strike when the government does not come through with the goods and many expect the situation with the fishermen to be a potential hotspot for some time to come (at least, until a settlement is agreed).  For now, however, you can take the ferry to or from the Continent.

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