Tourists stranded as seamen extend Greek ferry strike

Tourists and locals in Greece were left stranded Monday as ferry workers halted inter-island transport and voted to extend a paralysing strike by 24 hours, union and industry officials said.

A port police official said there were "no maritime connections from the country's principal ports".

The powerful Greek Seamen's Federation (PNO) hailed support for the walkout, and announced the strike would continue from 6 am (0300 GMT) Tuesday until 6 am Wednesday for all categories of boats.

The labour action comes at the tail-end of Europe's summer holiday season, and extra pre-strike ferries were called into action Sunday to move people at the last minute.

Industry body SEEN said the strike had caused "serious problems", leaving tourists stuck on remote islands with no way of making it to the mainland to catch booked flights back home.

The action has also caused a string of cancelled hotel bookings, and halted deliveries of essential goods to the Greek islands.

The PNO launched its work stoppage after bosses rejected demands for a five-percent pay hike following years of austerity and salary freezes as the country emerges from a crippling economic crisis.

Despite two years of booming trade, industry representatives offered a one-percent rise in September, to be followed by another one percent next June.

The strike is the first since Greece emerged last month from three international bailouts and eight years of deep spending cuts.

Although budget cuts remain on the menu, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras last week pledge to increase the minimum wage, which had fallen to 586 euros ($680) a month from some 760 euros before the crisis took hold.