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Greek taxis strike over austerity-inspired reforms

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Greek taxis strike over austerity-inspired reforms


Greek taxi drivers started a 48-hour strike on Monday in protest at moves to liberalise their trade.

They blocked roads near Athens international airport and the port of Piraeus, wreaking havoc for tourists arriving to the country on holiday.

The government wants to cut the cost of a taxi licence from €80,000 euros to just €3,000, angering drivers who paid the higher price.

“I sold property to buy the taxi because I didn’t have a job. I tell you, I am ready to give my life to keep these hooligans from taking the money that I have paid (for my licence),” said Athens taxi operator Panagiotis Koutelias.

Greece is deregulating more than 140 sectors, so-called closed-shop professions, to improve competition and boost growth.

The austerity-driven reforms were called for by Greece’s creditors, the European Union and the International Monetary Fund, in return for bailout money for the country’s debt-laden economy.

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