Greek public sector workers protest against further austerity measures

| May 4, 2010
Greek public sector workers protest against further austerity measures

Strikes were launched across Greece again today as workers protest against new austerity measures, which include deeper cuts in pensions and public servants’ pay, as well as a fresh hike in consumer taxes.

The new austerity measures are being submitted in a draft bill to the Greek Parliament today, and will be voted on by the end of the week.

The new measures have been introduced in return for a deal designed to prevent Greece from defaulting on its massive debt.

The a��110 billion (A?95 billion) three-year rescue deal comprises a��80 billion from the EU, with the rest coming from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Prime Minister George Papandreou recently said the bailout involves a�?great sacrificesa�? and Unions pledged to fight the further round of austerity measures and a third nationwide general strike in as many months is scheduled for tomorrow.

Tomorrow’s strike is expected to shut down services across Greece with the country coming to a standstill. Public transport will cease in the morning and evening, while Government offices will remain closed throughout the day. State hospitals will operate with emergency staff only.

However, returning to the bailout package, investors are concerned that Europe’s debt crisis would worsen despite the rescue.

As a result, global markets fell today with Londona��s FTSE 100 index dropping 113.58 points to 5,439.71, while Germany’s DAX lost 2.1% and France’s CAC-40 fell 2.6%.

The euro took another battering, falling to a one-year low against the dollar as fears mount that the crisis would spread to countries such as Portugal and Spain.

Last week, Standard & Poora��s (S&P) downgraded Spaina��s credit rating by one notch to AA from AA+ , while Portugala��s debt was downgraded two notches A- from A+.

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