January 20, 2018
Monday, November 5, 2012

Greece faces 48-hour strike over austerity cuts

Journalists march during a demonstration as part of a 24-hour media blackout of print, broadcast and electronic media in Athens, as a banner calling for a 48-hour general strike on November 6 and 7, 2012 is seen at left.

Greek workers begin a 48-hour strike tomorrow to protest against a new round of austerity cuts that unions say will devastate the poor and drive a failing economy to collapse.

The walkout, called by Greece's two biggest labour organisations, is the third major strike in two months against a package of spending cuts and reforms that Prime Minister Antonis Samaras's government is trying to push through parliament to unlock aid.

Athens needs parliamentary approval for the package - which includes slashing pensions by as much as a quarter for some and scrapping holiday bonuses - to ensure its European Union and International Monetary Fund lenders release more than 31 billion euros ($40 billion) of aid, much of it aimed at shoring up banks.

The government has implored Greeks to endure the cuts in a bid to avoid national bankruptcy and insists they will be the last round of pain. But few are impressed in a nation where over a quarter are jobless while poverty and suicide levels soar.

"They should go to hell and beyond," said Anais Metaxopoulou, a 65-year-old pensioner, expressing the anger many Greeks feel towards their political class.

"They should ask me how I feel when I have to go to church to beg for food. I wouldn't hurt a fly but I would happily behead one of them."

The strike is timed to coincide with a crucial vote on Wednesday, when the government is expected to just about win backing for austerity cuts and labour reforms that the smallest party in Samaras's coalition has refused to back.

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Tags:  greece  strike  austerity  cuts  economy  imf  aid  samaras  

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