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Strikes begin over Greek austerity plan

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Strikes begin over Greek austerity plan


The first of a series of new strikes against austerity measures in Greece.

Tax officials have walked off the job, just a day after the European Commission gave its backing to a plan to cut the country’s ballooning deficit.

The measures include a wage freeze across the public sector and cuts in allowances for civil servants. But the government says it will also cut bureacracy.

Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou said: “We will be changing the tax system, cutting top wages in the public sector. We will also be restructuring administration.”

The country’s economic problems are hitting hard. One of its leading shoe manufacturers is faced with closure, with angry workers trying to recover unpaid wages.

“We haven’t been paid for two months,” said one man. “But the most difficult time was a few months ago when we were notified about the closure.”

Greece has been under growing pressure from Brussels to get its deficit down from nearly 13 percent of Gross Domestic Product to three percent.
That is the limit set for European Union countries. Achieving this, while avoiding public unrest, is a massive challenge for Greece’s Socialist government.

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