Greece: Civil servants protest ahead of vote on job cuts

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Greece: Civil servants protest ahead of vote on job cuts

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Public sector workers in Greece protested against planned job cuts the government has agreed to make in order to get much-needed bailout money.

Some 15,000 civil servants will be laid-off in the next two years.

Contract workers in the public sector have so far managed to keep their jobs by petitioning the courts, however the fight continues for others who could still lose their livelihoods.

Civil servants from Athens and Thessaloniki demonstrated outside the Public Administrations Ministry.

“Unemployment has surpassed every historical precedent, both in Greece and Europe. There are over 21 million unemployed in Europe. A quarter of European society is living in complete poverty,” said Kostas Tsikrikas, president of the Confederation of Civil Servants trade union.

The unemployment rate in Greece is now more than 27 percent.

Athens has to take a crucial vote on the job cuts before May 5 in order to trigger the release of close to 8.8 billion euros from the troika of the International Monetary Fund, the European Union and the European Central Bank.

The vote is scheduled for Sunday night, but some parts, like those concerning contract workers, have already been removed and will be voted on after orthodox Easter on May 5.