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 legislation includes plans for a transfer and layoff scheme for 25,000 public workers by the year’s end.
“With one vote they murdered one hundred thousand people,” said a school worker.” They have killed people with their vote,” he added.
Michalis Tzatzas who is President of the teachers association in Larissa said:
“The entire community of teachers feels betrayed, they are destroying technical colleges and this is just the beginning.”
Protesters welcomed members of the opposition Syriza party who came out to show their support. Together they chanted it was the end of the coalition.
Panagiotis Lafazanis speaking for Syriza foretold it was a time for change.
“There is a river of change that is flowing and whose current cannot be stopped. The days of the Samaras Venizelos government are numbered. The time of the Left is here.”
Anger was also focused on today’s visit by Germany’s finance minister, whose firm stance in demanding cuts from indebted eurozone nations is deeply resented.