Flights disrupted and hospitals on skeleton staff… a strike by Greek public sector workers made an impact on Thursday.
The 24-hour walkout – called by the ADEDY union – was against pension and tax reforms sought by Greece’s foreign lenders, who are reviewing Athens’ compliance with the terms of an international bailout agreed last year.
Despite its initial opposition, the ruling left-wing Syriza party has buckled to international pressure and implemented austerity measures.
Debt relief is part of its strategy, reluctant to target pensions to cut spending – but international creditors want more reforms.
“If the government wanted to, they could find the money for the pension funds. They must clash with the creditors and stop paying the debt instead of putting extra burdens on working people,” said one woman who joined Thursday’s protest outside the Greek parliament.
“People had placed all their hopes with the Syriza government, but unfortunately now they realize that it does what all the previous governments did,” a man added.
Greeks have seen large cuts to incomes and services under austerity measures.
The government hopes to reach a draft agreement with creditors this weekend.
Meanwhile port workers are due to strike on Friday against the sale of Greece’s largest port. Privatisations were part of the bailout deal.
Euronews correspondent Stamatis Giannisis reported from the protest:
“Public sector employees aren’t the only ones reacting to social security reforms. Similar objections are voiced by those working in the private sector. And they both threaten to crank up their protests to the maximum once the pensions bill to be agreed with the country’s creditors is presented to parliament.”