Greek labor unions to go on strike over fresh austerity cuts

May 5, 2016 7:30 pm

Farmers take part in an anti-government rally in front of the parliament in Athens, , February 13, 2016. ©AP

Greek labor unions are set to take a three-day general industrial action to vent their anger at a new round of austerity measures demanded by international lenders under the cash-strapped country’s third bailout package.
The work stoppage is scheduled to start on Friday in protest at the parliament’s upcoming vote on a raft of unpopular tax and pension reforms.
People are expected to march outside the legislature on the day of the vote.
The strike will affect ferry services for four days and state-run and municipal services, including garbage collection, for three days.
Late Sunday, the parliament will vote on a draft legislation, which would raise tax on corporate dividends from 10 to 15 percent, increase income tax for high earners, lower tax free thresholds and raise solidarity tax.
The draft law also slashes pension spending from its current level of 17 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) annually.
Athens hopes that the new measures will convince its international creditors to approve the release of vital bailout funds.

A demonstrator shouts slogans during an anti-government rally by farmers in front of the parliament in Athens, Greece, February 12, 2016. ©AFP

Last July, Greece signed a deal with its creditors – the European Commission, the European Central Bank (ECB), and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) – to receive a EUR 86-billion bailout in exchange for fresh austerity reforms.
The agreement triggered outrage from Greeks, who argue that Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras came to power on an anti-austerity platform.
Greece has already received two bailouts in 2010 and 2012, worth a total of EUR 240 billion from its creditors following the economic crisis in the Southeast European country back in 2009.
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