Hundreds of workers from the Greek finance ministry marched in Athens as part of a nationwide protest against the government’s austerity plan to stop the country going bankrupt.
Wages are being frozen and extra allowances — which form a large part of their pay packets — are being cut.
George Samaris from the Employees’ Union said: “Economic measures may be needed but not those that reduce wages in the middle of a recession which needs to be supported with the circulation of money. The reduction of incomes will have the opposite effect, reducing people’s buying power.”
The Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou had a more optimistic point of view when he met his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Moscow.
Papandreou said: “I can assure you the Greek people are ready to adopt the changes necessary to reform our society, so it becomes more robust and successful,” he said.
Unions said the Greek plan to bring its ballooning deficit under control will further cut wage packets that have already shrunk by ten per cent in two years.
There are fears that freight will back up at ports with customs officers joining the four day stoppage. Their action has also caused long queues at petrol stations, with motorists fearful of shortages.