Greek ferries are to start operating again Friday morning after the seamen's union called off rolling 48-hour strikes.

The strikes, which began Monday, have stranded tens of thousands of residents of small islands, prevented agricultural produce from reaching mainland markets and trapped thousands of refugees on eastern Aegean islands. The union has said it will participate in a general strike called for Nov. 12.

Pressure had mounted on the union to allow exceptions at least for ferries transporting refugees and migrants from the islands to the mainland.

So far more than 600,000 people have reached Greece from Turkey, with the vast majority aiming to move on to more prosperous countries in the European Union's north. After receiving registration papers on the islands, the refugees take ferries to the mainland, then proceed north to the border.