Thursday, March 04, 2010

Greek trade unions fire opening salvo over austerity measures

In what promises to be the opening shots in a war of attrition Greek public and private sector trade unions have taken to the streets in the country's major cities angry with the drastic cuts in pay announced by prime minister, Giorgos Papandreou yesterday. Thessaloniki, Greece 03/03/2010

The cuts in salaries combined with a rises in VAT of between 1 and 2% have angered many Greeks who believe the $420 billion debt has gone to line the pockets of the rich and that it is they who should shoulder the burden of reducing the deficit. Marching under the banner, “The plutocracy should pay” the communist controlled PAMe trade union confederation marched this today in Athens and Thessaloniki. Other actions also included an occupation of the economics ministry and the state run ET3 TV station.

On the internet Greek Twitter users could barely contain their outrage over the new economic measures which aim to fill government coffers and cut down on the bloated government budget. However there was anger over the fact that areas such as defence spending which soaks up 4.3% of GNP, a figure twice that of the UK was untouched wheras the education budget was cut by 600 million euros.

Tomorrow sees the first in a series of widespread strike actions across Greece which threaten to bring the country to a standstill.

1 comment:

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