Greek health staff strike shuts state hospitals

Greek state hospitals were functioning with emergency staff on Friday as doctors and staff hold a 24-hour strike against planned health cutbacks enforced under the country’s harsh austerity program.

Health workers were planning a protest outside the Health Ministry building in central Athens later Friday. Unions are angry at the conservative-led government’s plans to suspend and reallocate staff as part of its drive to reform the public sector and reduce the budget deficit.

Greece nearly went bankrupt in 2010 after running up a huge public debt and under-reporting deficit data. The country has been kept afloat by a 240 billion euro bailout program from its European partners and the International Monetary Fund.

To secure continued payment of the loans, Greece has implemented deep spending cuts, slashing public-sector incomes and repeatedly hiking taxes.


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