Monday September 1, 2014 Search
Weather | Athens
29o C
23o C
News
Business
Comment
Life
Sports
Community
Survival Guide
Greek Edition
Anti-austerity strike brings Greece to a standstill

Greek workers walked off the job on Wednesday in a nationwide protest against wage cuts and high taxes, keeping ferries docked in ports, shutting state schools and leaving hospitals working with emergency staff.

Greece's two biggest labour unions brought much of the near-bankrupt country to a standstill during a 24-hour strike over the cuts, which they say only deepen the plight of a people struggling to get through the country's worst peacetime downturn.

Representing about 2.5 million workers, the unions have gone on strike repeatedly since Europe's debt crisis erupted in late 2009, testing the government's will to implement necessary reforms in the face of growing public anger.

"The (strike) is our answer to the dead-end policies that have squeezed the life out of workers, impoverished society and plunged the economy into recession and crisis,» said the private sector union GSEE, which is organising the walkout with its public sector sister union ADEDY.

"Our struggle will continue for as long as these policies are implemented,» it said.

Prime Minister Antonis Samaras's eight-month-old coalition government has been eager to show it will implement reforms it promised the European Union and International Monetary Fund, which have bailed Athens out twice with over 200 billion euros.

It has taken a tough line on striking workers, invoking emergency laws twice this year to order seamen and subway workers back to their jobs after week-long walkouts that paralysed public transport in Athens and led to food shortages on islands.

But in a sign it is buckling under pressure, it announced on Monday it would not fire almost 1,900 civil servants earmarked for possible dismissal, despite promising foreign lenders it would seek to cut the public payroll.

Strikes picking up

Strikes have picked up in recent weeks, underscoring Greeks' anger at record high unemployment and poverty levels.
 
A one-day visit by French President Francois Hollande in Athens on Tuesday went largely uncovered as Greek journalists were on strike.

In northern and central Greece, farmers have been protesting at high production costs and fuel prices for nearly a month, occasionally blocking the country's main north-south highway.

Most business and public sector activity came to a halt during Wednesday's strike, with school teachers, train and bus employees and bankers among various groups joining the walkout.

"We are on our knees. The country has been destroyed, the young people have been destroyed,» said Nikos Papageorgiou, 56, a civil servant.

"I'm outraged with the Europeans and our politicians as well. They should all go to jail."

Hospitals ran on emergency staff and ships were docked in ports as seaworkers defied government orders to return to work.

Several marches are expected to culminate in demonstrations at around noon outside parliament at Syntagma square in central Athens, where protests have often ended in violent clashes between police and activists in the past.

Analysts said Greece securing bailout funds in December, which averted bankruptcy and ended months of uncertainty over the country's future in the eurozone, created expectations among Greeks that things would improve for them on a personal level as well.

"If these expectations are not satisfied by the summer, then whatever is left of the working class will respond with more protests,» said Costas Panagopoulos, head of Alco pollsters.

[Reuters]
 

ekathimerini.com , Wednesday February 20, 2013 (10:15)  
Excavation work at Amphipolis reveals section of marble mosaic floor
Greek officials meet to fine tune strategy for Paris talks with troika
Large fire in Crete brought under partial control
Traveling on public transport in Athens gets cheaper
Prospect of Greek grand prix back on the agenda; huge investment needed
The prospect of a Formula One racing track in the Greek capital, first raised nearly half a century ago, has re-emerged, sparked by comments on the issue from Bernie Ecclestone, president an...
ANALYSIS
Juggling lighter tax burden and fiscal targets
The Greek government is under pressure from its own backers and society in general to lighten the tax burden at the same time as international lenders are demanding ambitious fiscal targets ...
Inside Business
SOCCER
Fulham striker Mitroglou set to re-join Olympiakos
Greek champions Olympiakos Piraeus are set to re-sign Kostas Mitroglou on loan from English second tier club Fulham after the striker arrived in Athens for talks on Sunday. An Olympiakos spo...
SOCCER
Tough draw for Greek sides in Europa League group stage
Following Thursday nights high, when all three Greek teams competing in the Europa League made it into the group stage of the competition, a harsh reality struck Friday as they found out wh...
Inside Sports
COMMENTARY
A great president
I fully understand the countrys need for political stability, a necessity which makes the election of a president by the current Parliament absolutely imperative. At the same time, however,...
EDITORIAL
Dont feed the zombies
There can be no growth without resolving the issue of nonperforming business loans. However, the solution to this problem should not be based on old establishment criteria, such as political...
Inside Comment
SPONSORED LINK: FinanzNachrichten.de
SPONSORED LINK: BestPrice.gr
RECENT NEWS
1. Excavation work at Amphipolis reveals section of marble mosaic floor
2. Greek officials meet to fine tune strategy for Paris talks with troika
3. Fulham striker Mitroglou set to re-join Olympiakos
4. Large fire in Crete brought under partial control
5. Prospect of Greek grand prix back on the agenda; huge investment needed
6. Juggling lighter tax burden and fiscal targets
more news
Today
This Week
1. A great president
2. Dont feed the zombies
3. Greek officials meet to fine tune strategy for Paris talks with troika
4. Excavation work at Amphipolis reveals section of marble mosaic floor
5. Prospect of Greek grand prix back on the agenda; huge investment needed
6. Juggling lighter tax burden and fiscal targets
Today
This Week
1. Attack on gay couple in Athens leaves one man needing surgery
2. The battle against progress
3. Thessaloniki mayor Boutaris sworn in wearing yellow star amid Golden Dawn protests
4. Strong undersea quake occurs off island of Milos, felt in Athens
5. Greek quest for debt relief faces hurdles in Paris
6. Hardouvelis, ECB executive discuss bank program, stress tests
Find us ...
... on
Twitter
... on Facebook
About us  |  Subscriptions  |  Advertising  |  Contact us  |  Athens Plus  |  RSS  |   
Copyright 2014, H KAΘHMEPINH All Rights Reserved.