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Protesters upgrade Greek strike scale

12-15-2010 19:01 BJT

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Workers in Greece are set to ground flights, shut down schools, and paralyze public transport during a nationwide walkout.

This is the culmination of protests against austerity laws aimed at stemming a debt crisis. The uniformed employees say additional wage cuts will be detrimental to professions that constantly face dangers.

Panagiotis Lazos, Police Union Representative, said, "We are protesting against the cutbacks in spending for our organizations, and also against this policy of austerity. We don't want any more wage cuts that are going to diminish our standard of living."

Trade union workers in Athens walked off the job for three hours, while transport employees struck throughout Wednesday, shutting down movement in the Greek capital.

Parliament began voting Tuesday on a bill that would reduce the wages of civil servants at state-run firms, and relax labor bargaining contracts in the private sector.

Both measures are key elements of a 110-billion euro bailout agreement with the EU and IMF. Opposition parties say they will vote against some parts, or all of the bill.

The cash-strapped government announced the law as part of an additional budget cut package for 2011. Protests are scheduled to peak on Wednesday, as the largest trade unions stage a general nationwide 24-hour strike.



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