Greece union extends strike, outrage over EU package

Greece's main public sector union extended plans for nationwide strikes in response to a government austerity package that cuts wages and pensions.

Greece union extends strike, outrage over EU package

Greece's main public sector union extended plans for nationwide strikes in response to a government austerity package that cuts wages and pensions.

The ADEDY union, which represents about half a million public sector employees, said it would stage a 48-hour walkout starting on Tuesday, instead of the one-day strike it had previously planned for Wednesday.

"We will continue and intensify our struggle," the union vowed in a statement on Monday.

"Pain-for-aid" deal


Prime Minister George Papandreou's government unveiled a "pain-for-aid" deal with the EU and IMF on Sunday that relies primarily on cuts in the bloated public sector, which makes up a third of the workforce, to reduce a swollen budget deficit.

In exchange, Athens is to receive 110 billion euros-loan over three years.

Greece has a history of violent protests and the government's ability to implement its draconian programme depends heavily on how the public reacts to the new steps.

"Crackdown on corruption"

Greek President Karolos Papoulias warned Papandreou on Monday that his government would have trouble winning over the population unless pain for average workers was accompanied by a crackdown on corruption, which is estimated to have cost the economy $1 billion last year.

"I am certain the Greek people will respond positively, but they need to be convinced that justice will be done, that tax evasion will be wiped out," Papoulias said. "There must be a crackdown on everyone who enriched himself at the expense of the Greek people."

Several hundred rubbish collectors marched through central Athens on Monday behind a dozen garbage trucks, holding banners reading "hands off our salaries" and chanting "parliament is where the rubbish is."

"Outrage"

Greek newspapers displayed a mix of resignation and outrage at the new steps, which aim to slash the budget deficit to 8.1 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) this year, from 13.6 percent in 2009.

Centre-right newspaper Eleftheros Typos said the government was telling Greeks that they must die in order to live, describing the economic medicine it was doling out as "more harmful than the disease".

Centrist daily Ta Nea said the way of life to which Greeks have become accustomed had come to an end on Sunday. Centre-left Ethnos said the plans meant "asphyxiation" for the Greek people and a "violent modernisation" for the economy. There are precedents for the massive fiscal adjustment that Greece is undertaking, but economists say the country faces a more difficult challenge because of the weak state of its economy, which is expected to contract by 4.0 percent this year and 2.6 percent in 2011.

To avoid "reform fatigue" the government is frontloading its fiscal measures, meaning Greece faces what amounts to economic shock-therapy over the coming year.

Reuters


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Last Mod: 03 Mayıs 2010, 15:47
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stan squires
stan squires - 11 yıl Before

I am from vancouver,canada and i wanted to say that the unions in Greece should fight against these measures to the end.This is capitalism at its worse.Capitalism always has been unevenly spread in the world.There was never a time in history when the capitalist countries all had their economics on a par.It will never happen in the future.Every country is out to get the better of the other country.This is no benefit to the working class in any country.
After the first world war Germany was laiden with a huge amount of money to pay out to other european countries.It was a money grab.Now the german gov. is doing the same thing to Greece.The IMF is also bad news for the working class of Greece.
The working class in Greece needs to take political power into their own hands and then things can be done for the good of the people in Greece.There is no other way out for the working class.