Thousands of Greek public sector workers have been on strike today to protest against planned job cuts.
Teachers, municipal workers and pensioners joined the
24-hour walkout which shut schools and left hospitals manned by emergency staff.
Streets surrounding parliament were closed as lawmakers debated a bill on public sector reforms.
“How can we survive, when half our families are jobless. How can we survive on 400 euros a month?,” one demonstrator told euronews.
Labour unions fear Greece will have to impose even more wage and pension cuts in the coming years to meet the targets of its 240 billion euro bailout deal with the European Union and IMF.
Greece’s lenders have demanded 11,400 public sector layoffs this year, the fifth straight year of job cuts in the sector. Unemployment stood at 27.5 percent in December, little changed from a record high 27.7 percent in October, despite signs of an economic recovery.
Our correspondent in Athens, Stamatis Giannisis, says anti-austerity sentiment remains in high in Greece, where repeated bouts of belt-tightening have increased homelessness and brought down living standards.
“Today’s rally is not the end of the civil servants protests. They’ve denounced the troika’s demands for engineered job mobility and layoff schemes. Next week they plan a new two day strike and union leaders say they’re determined to demonstrate until the government relents.”