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New Greek PM faces first major test over austerity

New Greek PM faces first major test over austerity
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Greece’s new government is facing its first major test over the country’s harsh austerity measures.

A 24-hour general strike is underway, called by unions representing over half of the country’s four million-strong workforce.

To continue receiving IMF and EU bailout payments, painful reforms are being imposed.

Yannis Panagopoulos, the head of a private sector union, said: “What we can see in the budget that has been submitted are new unfair and inefficient measures, which will add great burdens on salaried workers and pensioners and will increase unemployment. As long as these unfair policies continue, the struggle provides the only way out for salaried workers and pensioners.”

Public transport has ground to a halt today, schools are shut, and hospitals are only dealing with emergencies. Public sites and state agencies are also closed.

All eyes are on the new technocrat prime minister, Lucas Papademos, to see whether he has the resolve to push ahead with the austerity programme.