Greek workers march to Parliament to protest pension reform


Greek workers marched through the streets of Athens on Saturday to protest against the leftist-led government's planned pension reform which the country's international creditors have demanded as part of its third bailout.

About 3,000 public and private sector workers, pensioners and students rallied peacefully outside Parliament. They held banners reading “You cannot bargain with social security” and chanted “Your hands off our pensions!”

“We will fight to protect our rights and force the government to withdraw this monstrous plan that it calls a reform,” the secretary-general of private sector union GSEE, Nikos Kioutsoukis, told Reuters.

Turnout in recent protests has been weak, mainly due to austerity fatigue and resignation after five years of belt-tightening and two bailouts that have shut businesses and pushed up unemployment but have not pulled Greece out of the crisis.
On February 4, labor unions will stage a 24-hour general strike against the planned reform, the third such walkout in three months. Turnout will indicate the level of resistance the government faces as it pushes through tough measures.

This week lawyers staged one of their biggest rallies in recent years and they have threatened to step up labour action. Farmers are also gearing up for road and border crossing blockades against the planned pension cuts and social security contribution increases.