Workers in new round of strikes

As authorities balk at calls by the European Commission for additional austerity measures, employees in various sectors are today to launch a new round of strikes in protest at cuts to the supplementary income payments the government has said are necessary to get the economy back on its feet. A three-day strike by customs officials, starting today, is expected to cause serious disruptions to fuel supplies and to hamper cross-border trade. Meanwhile, gas station owners are threatening to shut down their outlets if the government proceeds with plans to force them to install cash registers on their premises and issue receipts – in a bid to clamp down on rampant tax evasion in the sector. Another strike due to start today is a four-day walkout by employees of various state bodies that fall under the umbrella of the Finance Ministry, including the General Accounting Office, the National Statistical Service, the Capital Markets Commission and the State Legal Council. This week’s strike action is to culminate on Friday with another 24-hour strike by taxi drivers, who walked off the job last Thursday in protest at the impact of new tax reforms. Unionists claim that the measures «would create a series of new problems and make our occupation more difficult, if not impossible.» The next major strike is scheduled for next Wednesday, February 24. The General Confederation of Greek Labor (GSEE) has called on hundreds of thousands of members to join its 24-hour strike and take to the streets in protest at austerity measures. A protest rally organized by the main civil servants’ union (ADEDY) last Wednesday attracted a surprisingly low turnout though tens of thousands of civil servants participated in the strike itself by staying at home.

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