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Greek unions prepare for 24-hour strike amid austerity measures

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by Kay Mitchell
Greek unions prepare for 24-hour strike amid austerity measures

Greek unions have today vowed to strike on Wednesday to protest against the Government’s austerity measures.

Last week, Greek Prime Minister, George Papandreou, announced tough austerity measures to tackle the country’s spiralling debt. Measures include a public sector pay freeze, a hike in taxes and an increase to the retirement age.

Spyros Papaspyros, president of the ADEDY public sector union, told a news conference: “We will strike on Wednesday to defend our dignity, to put an end to our sacrifices on the altar of financial markets. These are pointless sacrifices.”

The walk-out by Greek public sector workers comes prior to the EU summit meeting in Brussels on Thursday, which will see European leaders discuss the issues facing Greece, Spain and Portugal.

Greece’s runaway budget deficit is currently more than four times the EU limit of 3%. It currently has the highest debt of the 16-member euro zone and its economy is considered to be the euro zone’s weakest.

Meanwhile, Spanish and Portuguese bonds are under pressure, which has, in turn, weakened the value of the euro.

The currency has lost around a tenth of its value since November as fears mount over the challenge that faces the weaker economies within the euro zone.

Concerns over Greece’s debt have driven up borrowing costs and sent the euro to an 8½-month low against the dollar.

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News posted: February 8, 2010

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