Athens accepts 15,000 public sector layoffs

Greece’s coalition government said it has accepted demands by rescue creditors to cut 15,000 jobs in the public sector this year, under a new law that allows firings.

Public Sector Reform Minister Dimitris Reppas made the announcement on Monday, as talks for huge new rescue deals to avoid a March default were further delayed.

The announcement signals a major shift in Greece’s policy, as state jobs have so far been protected during the country’s acute financial crisis, which started about two years ago. [AP]