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Greek ferry seamen launch 24-hour strike

A seaman striker reads a newspaper as the ferries are docked during a 24-hour nationwide strike by Greek seamen's union in the port of Piraeus, near Athens, Tuesday, April 16, 2013. The union called the strike on Tuesday to protest labor reforms that unions say will undermine their collective bargaining rights. The new draft bill is due to be debated in Parliament on the day of the strike. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

ATHENS, Greece (AP) -- Greece's islands have been left without ferry links with the mainland due to a 24-hour strike by seamen protesting austerity policies.

The 24-hour walkout by the seamen ends early Wednesday.

Greek state railway workers are also holding work stoppages Tuesday to protest planned transport reforms.

Greece is in the midst of a major financial crisis that brought it to the brink of bankruptcy three years ago. The country is surviving on international rescue loans, granted in return for unpopular spending cuts and tax hikes, as well as extensive economic reforms.

On Monday, Greece and its international creditors agreed on further reforms that will allow disbursement of its next batch of rescue loans. The deal includes some 15,000 civil service layoffs through 2014.