[QODLink]
Europe

Greece to sack thousands of public workers

Latest austerity measures could pave way for more than 20,000 lay-offs by end of next year, despite days of protests.

Last Modified: 18 Jul 2013 03:07
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback

Greece's parliament has approved reforms making it easier to sack thousands of public sector workers, clearing the way for the receipt of a $9.2 billion tranche of bailout money.

Members of parliament voted 153 to 140 in favour of the most contentious parts of an austerity bill early on Thursday. The reforms will loosen rules on sacking public workers, whose jobs are currently protected by the constitution.

A total of 12,500 civil servants, including teachers and police, face reassignment or the sack by the end of the year, with a further 15,000 facing the same options next year. 

The cuts will pave the way for more financial assitance from the country's "troika" of creditors -  the International Monetary Fund, European Central Bank, and European Commission - to prop up its failing economy.

'Better days ahead'

In a television address before the vote, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras said: "Better days will come for our people. We will not let up. We will climb uphill and reach the end, which is not far."

But municipal workers, union members and supporters continued their protest outside the Greek parliament in Athens on Wednesday night.

About 3,000 demonstrators were joined by opposition MPs and mayors.

"All in all, we are saying that we cannot accept any more lay-offs at this difficult time in the country's economy," Costas Askounis, the head of a national mayor's association, said during the protest.

Staff targeted in the cuts staged a fourth straight day of protests.

Athens has imposed a series of wage cuts, redundancies and tax rises at the behest of its creditors in return for bailouts  worth more than $315bn since 2010. However, the country's recession has deepened and is now in its sixth year, with a 27 percent unemployment rate.

287

Source:
Agencies
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Muslim volunteers face questioning and threat of arrest, while aid has been disrupted or blocked, charities say.
Six months on, outrage and sorrow over the mass schoolgirl abduction has disappeared - except for families in Nigeria.
ISIL combatants seeking an 'exit strategy' from Mideast conflict need positive reinforcement back home, analysts say.
European nation hit by a wave of Islamophobia as many young fighters join ISIL in Syria and Iraq.
Featured
Lack of child protection laws means abandoned and orphaned kids rely heavily on the care of strangers.
At least 25 tax collectors have been killed since 2012 in Mogadishu, a city awash in weapons and abject poverty.
Since she was 16-years-old, Scottish Nationalist Party's Sturgeon has strove for independence from the UK.
Armed group's ransom success with German hostages marks a re-emergence, as authorities investigate ISIL links.
Western nations are moving into the resource-rich country after decades of disinterest, challenging China's interests.