Thousands of Greek workers chanted anti-austerity slogans outside the country’s parliament as inside lawmakers passed a controversial reform bill that will cut thousands of public sector jobs.
After midnight the government narrowly scraped through the vote with 153 MPs of the 300 seat parliament in favour of the bill. Its approval was needed to unlock nearly seven billion euros in aid from the European Union and International Monetary Fund.
The multi-pronged legislation which has triggered a week of protest rallies includes plans for a transfer and layoff scheme for 25,000 public workers by the end of the year. Those mainly affected are teachers and municipal police at a time when the country’s unemployment rate is at an all-time high of 27 percent.