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Greek Civil Servants Strike Against Latest Austerity Measures

Greek civil servants strike against latest austerity measures

Greek civil servants strike against latest austerity measures

Public services shut down in Greece on Wednesday when thousands of civil servants walked off their jobs in a 24-hour strike against the government’s latest austerity measures.  Prime Minister George Papandreou announced plans this week to trim pensions and reduce salaries for 30,000 civil servants that would then ultimately be let go.

Schools, multi-level governmental operations, and courts closed when members of the two major unions began the strike, and more than 400 flights from the Athens International Airport were cancelled.  Train and ferry services were stopped, and hospitals were reported to be running on emergency staff only.

Greece has been reliant on international aid since accepting a $157 billion dollar bailout in May 2010 to stave off bankruptcy.  A second bailout worth $155 billion was approved in July.
The European Union, the International Monetary Fund, (IMF) and the European Central Bank are now re-evaluating plans to release the latest installment to Greece given acknowledgements Sunday that it will fall short of debt reduction goals by close to one percent.  Greece agreed to cut 150,000 public sector jobs by 2014.

Austerity measures already imposed by the Athens government have been widely decried by the Greek people as deepening the recession and the country’s economic problems.

Protests against cutbacks have frequently turned violent, with riots in Syntagma Square last June that injured more than 100 people.  At this latest demonstration, masked youths threw chunks of marble at police stationed throughout the city’s capital, but scuffles so far have been minor.

Greek Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos said debt-reduction goals could fall further behind targets if the country was unable to show “national cohesion and solidarity.” Other unions are expected to protest later this month.

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