It began with government tax workers last week, now other Greek civil servants have taken to the streets. Many state services, including schools and airports, are shut today in a strike over a government austerity package.
Union leaders say this action is just the first in a series of strikes. The government, urged on by Brussels, maintains it has no choice but take drastic action to cut its debt and budget deficit. But opinion remains divided on whether austerity is the answer.
One man said: “Everyone must get off their couches, out of their beds and take to the streets, because life has taught me that that is the only way to get justice. It’s not handed to us on a plate.”
A woman said: “We have to implement the austerity measures or the country will not be able to get out of this crisis. We have to pay for the mistakes of the past.”
Unions oppose plans to freeze public wages and the hiring of new staff and slash overtime payments. Tax and retirement reforms are also causing anger.