Thessaloniki - Greece
Demonstrators in the northern Greek town of Thessaloniki occupied the city's chamber of commerce (SEV) in protest against the government's plans to reform the state pension scheme. In prelude to the general strike announced by unions tomorrow anti - authoritarian groups took over the building housing SEv on Tsimiski St and handed out leaflets to passers by. They denounced reform plans which have generated a wave strikes and stoppages and strikes over the last month.
The conservative government's new law, which will be put the vote in parliament tomorrow, would see the country's 133 pension schemes slimmed down to 13 and see drastic cuts in the pensions given to those retiring early and an increase in retirement age for others.
The demonstrators argue that existing shortfalls in the pension funding system comes from the failure of government to collect contributions from employers and the fact that billions of euros in debt have been written off in return for political favours. Indeed the Greek state itself owes the pension fund 7.8 billion euros, according to figures quoted by representatives of those protesting.
Tomorrow power workers, local council staff, lawyers, journalists, public transport employees and many other public and private sector workers are planning to strike in an action that is expected to bring the country to a halt.