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Greek civil servants strike over cuts

Greek civil servants strike over cuts
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Greek civil servants are set for a new standoff with their government after unions called a 24-hour general strike over deep wage and pension cuts.

Officials say Greece is on borrowed time to shore up its rocky public finances and restore investor confidence.

But that plea has fallen on deaf ears in Athens as demonstrators hold a mass rally through the Greek capital, grinding the country’s public services to a halt.

Sortiris Kostakis, one of the protesters, said he believed the strikes would “put the government under pressure.”

“If we don’t fight, banks and big businesses will get their way and the rest of society will suffer,” he said.

Dimos Vratsanos, a pensioner, said he felt the strikes should continue but said the movement should not go to “extremes” in making its voice heard.

A similar protest on May 5 turned violent with protesters lobbing petrol bombs and clashing with police. Three people were killed.

Greece has agreed to slash wages and pensions, and raise taxes in return for a 110-billion-euro loan package from the EU and IMF.

The national public deficit stands at 14 per cent of the country’s total economic output.