ATHENS, Greece — Ferry services to Greek popular island destinations face severe disruptions next week due to a strike called by the country’s powerful seamen’s union.The PNO union says the walkout will keep ferries tied up in port for 24 hours starting at 6 a.m. on Sept. 24.Coastal shipping firms have urged the union to reconsider, saying the strike would harm Greece’s key tourism industry.PNO said in a statement Tuesday that it is protesting proposed legislation that’s been roundly criticized by labour unions because it will make it harder for them to call strikes.The country’s umbrella civil servants’ union has also called a 24-hour strike for Sept. 24 to protest the draft law that was presented by Greece’s new centre-right government.The Associated Press
New regulatory costs are said to equal that spend on Happy ValleyCredit:Ben Blackall/BBC Karen Bradley MP at Downing StreetCredit:PAUL HACKETT According to tariffs published on the BBC website, the corporation pays around £900,000 an hour for high end drama, with foreign broadcasters often chipping in extra funds to pay for flagship series such as The Night Manager, which cost a reputed £3 million an episode.The new regulatory costs would amount to the rough equivalent of the BBC’s entire spend on a six-part drama series such as the crime dramas Happy Valley, or Line of Duty.Sue Owen, permanent secretary at the DCMS, is understood to have written to Sharon White, the chief executive of Ofcom, calling on her to cut the planned fees, but Ms White is said to have argued that the proposed charges are reasonable. The BBC has since invoked a little-known clause in the Communications Act, forcing ministers to arbitrate over the cost of the new regulatory regime.The corporation is said to be particularly annoyed that Ofcom has demanded £6.5 million for the past financial year, which covers a period before the broadcaster assumes its full regulatory duties.Ofcom insists that it will have a more wide-ranging role than the Trust, and will have to hold the BBC to account on new metrics such as diversity targets and new requirements to ensure that its programming is “distinctive”.An Ofcom spokesman said: “Licence-fee payers deserve a strong regulator that holds the BBC to account, and Ofcom’s new duties go beyond those of the BBC Trust.”We plan to deliver these effectively and efficiently, providing maximum value for money and ensuring the BBC meets audiences’ needs.”Ministers are yet to rule on the row. A DCMS spokesman said: “The department is having ongoing discussions with both Ofcom and the BBC Trust in the lead up to the transition of regulatory powers.”The BBC refused to comment. The BBC is refusing an order to pay £9 million a year to the broadcasting watchdog, in a behind-the-scenes row over the cost of the corporation’s new regulatory regime.Ofcom, which will take on responsibility for regulating the BBC in April, is locked in a private battle with the corporation after warning executives that it wants to appoint double the number of staff the BBC Trust, the broadcaster’s current ruling body, currently employs to regulate the broadcaster.The move will add more than £5 million to the regulatory bill currently footed by the licence fee payer, roughly equivalent to what the BBC spends on a six-part drama series. The Trust, which will be abolished under the corporation’s new royal charter, says it employs 35 regulatory staff, at a cost to licence fee payers of £3.8 million a year.Ofcom, which argues it has been given far wider powers to hold the BBC to account, has told the corporation that it plans to take on 77 staff to carry out the job – later falling to 55 – and has demanded a fee of £9 million a year from licence fee funds.The row has provoked a flurry of letters between the BBC, Ofcom and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, and the corporation is understood to have appealed to Karen Bradley, the culture secretary, to force the watchdog to reduce its fees.Alex Towers, director of the Trust, is understood to have warned ministers that the broadcaster, which already faces making £800 million in cuts, will have no choice but to take the additional £5.2 million a year out programming budgets. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.