Greek workers on strike

Reuters reports:

ATHENS, Feb 10 – Greek public sector workers will strike on Wednesday in the first major test of the government’s commitment to push through austerity plans and tackle a debt crisis which has shaken the euro zone.

The 24-hour strike will ground flights, shut government offices and schools and leave public hospitals operating only with emergency staff, a day before EU leaders discuss Greece at a special economy summit in Brussels. …

Unions oppose plans to freeze public wages, slash the salary supplements many Greeks get on top of their base pay, and replace only one in five people leaving the civil service. They say tax reforms, which are also part of the EU-backed plan to shore up Greece’s finances, hurt the poor.

The strike comes a day after the socialist government announced fresh measures to further cut the public wage bill and hike taxes, defying unions with plans to save the state 800 million euros ($1.1 billion) this year.

“They had promised the rich would pay but instead they take the money from the poor,” said Ilias Iliopoulos, general secretary of the public sector umbrella union ADEDY. “This is the policy we are fighting, not the effort to get out of the crisis.” …

“The measures regarding civil servants are simply unjust,” said 65-year-old civil servant Panayotis Daskalakos.

“We will strike even if we don’t believe this battle will be won,” he said. “We know that the government is taking these measures to satisfy Brussels but they are not thinking about us.”

ADEDY, which represents half a million workers, said on Tuesday it was likely to join a Feb. 24 private sector strike or stage another strike in March.

See also here.

Three-hundred thousand trade unionists are set to march through Athens on Wednesday as part of a 24-hour public-sector strike against the Socialist government’s drive to impose an EU-approved austerity programme: here.

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