Greece comes to a standstill as workers stage nationwide strike
Austerity measures to rescue Greece’s debt-stricken economy has resulted in two million workers to stage a nationwide strike today which will see air, rail and maritime transport come to a standstill.
It is the second general strike in a fortnight after the tough measures angered Greek trade unions.
Greece is currently taking action to reduce its public deficit from 12% to 8% of GDP this year.
The country currently has the highest debt of the 16-member euro zone and its economy is considered to be the euro zone’s weakest.
Its debt crisis has weakened the value of the euro, it has lost around one tenth of its value against the dollar since late 2009.
As a result, the Greek Government announced measures to cut its deficit and these include a public sector pay freeze, a hike in taxes on petrol, alcohol and tobacco and an increase to the retirement age.
The strike will mean commuters will have no way of travelling to work, while public schools, ministries and municipal offices will be closed.
Furthermore, many hospitals will operate only with emergency staffing.
Greece’s two biggest trade union groups, the private sector GSEE and the public sector ADEDY, are strongly against the austerity measures and are predicting a substantial turnout.
However, Deputy Prime Minister, Theodoros Pangalos, told the BBC the Government was not worried by the strike and would continue with its measures to trim the deficit.