Greece's Thessaloniki Port workers plan stoppage to protest port sale

ΑTHENS, March 21 (Reuters) - Workers at Greece's

second-biggest port, Thessaloniki Port, will walk off

their job for a few hours on Wednesday to protest the port's

sale, a key condition of the country's international bailout.

The sale was launched in 2014 but has been plagued by delays

and political resistance. As part of its privatisation drive

under its latest bailout, Greece has given investors until March

24 to submit binding bids for a 67 percent stake in the port and

taking over its operation for 40 years.

"We will walk out from 0800 to 1100 GMT tomorrow and we will

file a lawsuit to a Greek prosecutor in charge for corruption,"

said Lazaros Tantalidis, who represents the port's workers on

the company's 11-member board.

Tantalidis said the lawsuit would be against the country's

privatisation agency for its role in selling off state property.

Port workers oppose the port's privatisation, saying the

size of mandatory investment is low, reducing the value of the

port.

Eight parties had been shortlisted in 2014, including Danish

container terminal operator APM Terminals,

Phillipines-based International Container Terminal Services

(ICTS), Dubai-based P&O Steam Navigation Company (DP

World), Japan's Mitsui & Co and German private

equity Deutsche Invest Equity Partners.

The port's chairman Konstantinos Mellios has said that four

investors were expected to bid on March 24.

Thessaloniki Port, the country's second largest, has a

current market value of $205 million and a throughput which came

in at 344,277 TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) last year.

(Reporting by Angeliki Koutantou, editing by Louise Heavens)