Greek farmers demand government withdraw pensions reform plans


Greek farmers on Wednesday vowed to step up action against a controversial pensions reform bill, spurning an appeal from the country's prime minister to negotiate plans which have triggered mass blockades across the country.

"We will only examine the possibility of a dialogue with the prime minister if he rescinds the (pension reform) bill," said Vangelis Boutas, a representative of a farmers alliance of 65 groupings across Greece staging protests.

Earlier, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said he was willing to enter talks with farmers on ways to correct any perceived shortcomings in the pension reform bill.

Meanwhile, farmers in western Greece said they planned to block traffic on the highway between Antirrio and Ioannina after 2 p.m. on Wednesday.

On Friday, farmers from across the country are planning to travel to the capital, with plans to stage a three-day protest outside Parliament. The left-led coalition appears to be expecting the traffic police to step in to prevent the tractors reaching the capital. [Reuters, Kathimerini]