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Greece hit by one-day transport strike against cuts


Greece

Greece hit by one-day transport strike against cuts

Transport in Greece has been severely disrupted as workers stage a 24-hour strike against renewed austerity measures designed to save the country from bankruptcy.

Taxi and bus drivers, metro and rail workers forced commuters in Athens and elsewhere to use their own cars, provoking traffic jams and stranding tourists in hotels.

Dozens of international flights were cancelled or delayed due to a stoppage by air traffic controllers.

“The cars are all out on the streets today to get people around, so it is a difficult situation again. But if it helps to bring down the politicians then it doesn’t matter,” said a motorist in Athens.

Another driver said:“There is congestion but we will be patient. I prefer traffic to what they are doing to us.”

To appease international creditors the government has cut pensions, extended a property tax rise, and put thousands of civil servants on notice to find new work in the state sector or lose their jobs.

The socialist prime minister and his finance minister have been criticised for what one opposition figure called a “tsunami of unfair and unbearable measures”.

A few thousand demonstrators rallied in the centre of Athens on Wednesday night after the new cuts were announced. The strikes are the first big nationwide protests since early summer.

But the country remains divided between private sector workers who blame a bloated state bureaucracy for the crisis, and public servants who say the biggest problems are political corruption and tax evasion.

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