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A protesting civil servant holds a banner during a rally in central Syntagma Square outside the Greek Parliament in Athens, Monday, July 15, 2013. Some 1,000 people took part in the peaceful protest. Greek unions are holding a 24-hour strike Tuesday against planned new austerity measures to slash the size of Greece's bloated public sector, which counts some 670,000 employees. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris) pixel
Image: picture alliance/AP Photo

Athens grinds to a halt

July 16, 2013

Civil service workers have gone on strike in Greece, protesting against more job cuts. Thousands of private sector employees have joined the strike action in Athens ahead of a parliamentary vote on reforms.


Buses and trains stopped running, garbage collectors stopped working, and hospitals worked with emergency staff on Tuesday as employees went on strike in protest at government plans to cut thousands of public sector jobs.

Public sector workers launched their 24-hour strike under the slogan "General strike - we are people, not numbers."

They were joined in their protests by other groups, such as bank employees or aviation industry employees, who walked off the job for four hours from midday, disrupting domestic air traffic.

Greeks protest public sector job cuts

"We are continuing our fight to put an end to policies that annihilate workers and drive the economy to an even greater recession," said the private sector union GSEE, which called the strike with public sector union ADEDY. Together they represent nearly 2.5 million workers.

Greece must shrink its civil service sector to be able to receive more bailout funds from foreign lenders.

Municipal workers in the capital have announced a march on parliament, where a vote on another round of reforms is to take place this Wednesday.

The latest reform bill, which was agreed with its European Union and International Monetary Fund lenders, is a condition for 6.8 billion euros ($8.9 billion) in aid.

Plans include job cuts for teachers, municipal police and local government posts.12,500 public workers are to be placed in a so-called "mobility pool" by September this year, giving them eight months to find work in another department or lose their jobs.

The Greek unemployment rate stands at nearly 27 percent, which is double the EU average.

rg/kms (Reuters, dpa)

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