New strike in Greece over civil service cuts

Civil workers launch a 48-hour strike to protest job cuts as Greece's foreign lenders check reform progress.

Last Modified: 24 Sep 2013 09:32
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In Greece scores of protesters are on strike in protest of recent government job cuts in the civil service sector [AFP]

Greek public sector workers have gone on strike for the second time in a week, shutting down schools and leaving hospitals with few staff, as inspectors from Greece's foreign lenders checked if the country was meeting its bailout targets.

Workers employed from municipal police to teachers began a 48-hour strike on Tuesday to protest government plans to cut thousands of public sector jobs as required to continue receiving international loans.

ADEDY, the public sector umbrella union, organised the walkout claiming government efforts to reduce the 600,000 strong civil service sector was “the most merciless plan” to eliminate workers’ rights.

The Greek government has dubbed the plan as a “mobility scheme”, meaning workers will have to find work in other departments within eight months or be laid off.

The workers say the government is firing them indiscriminately at a time when Greece is enduring record unemployment.

"We call on the workers ... the self-employed, the unemployed, the pensioners, the youth and everyone affected by these policies to give their resounding presence," ADEDY said.

Various groups, among them teachers, municipal police and doctors, are planning to march towards main Syntagma Square in Athens, later on Tuesday.

More bailout, more protests

The trio of the country's European Union, International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank began their review this week and are due to visit Administrative Reform Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Tuesday.

The latest review by the lenders, which previously bailed out Greece with more than 240bn euros, will determine the size of a third bailout to keep the country afloat.

In light of the recent news on cuts unions have stepped up protests, backed by anti-bailout opposition which called for citizens to overthrow the government.

Scores of municipal police dressed in black staged a mock funeral in Athens on Monday marching somberly behind a hearse across the city centre, carrying wreaths and singing psalms.

The latest labour action has also turned into a protest to mark the fatal stabbing of Pavlos Fissas by a self-proclaimed supporter of the far-right Golden Dawn party last week.


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