Greek public sector workers have begun a 48-hour strike to protesting planned job cuts. The layoffs are wanted by the Greek government to fulfil conditions set by international lenders offering bailouts.
Wednesday marked the beginning of the two-day strike action that affects all aspects of public sector life in Greece, from schools to public transportation and garbage collection.
The Greek government has planned cuts to spending that will affect the pay and employment status of many public sector employees. This includes work suspension for 25,000 public servants this year, and the complete firing of 15,000 employees by the end of 2014. The aim is to reduce the size of the public sector in order to bring spending under control in order to meet the conditions of an international bailout from the International Monetary Fund and the European Union.
Strikes starting on Wednesday are adding to other work-stoppages that are already underway. High school teachers started rolling five-day strikes on Monday, and state doctors at hospitals started a three-day strike Tuesday. Hospitals were operating with limited staff on Wednesday and only treating emergencies.
Greece has the highest overall unemployment rate in the entire European Union at more than 27 percent. For citizens under the age of 25, that figures jumps to almost 60 percent.
mz/ipj (dpa, AP)