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Anti-austerity strike, bad weather paralyze parts of Greece

10-11-2011 10:55 BJT

ATHENS, Oct. 10 (Xinhua) -- Heavy rains, strong winds and a public transport strike brought Athens and parts of Greece to a standstill on Monday.

Public transport came to a halt due to a fresh 24-hour strike called by labor unions against salaries cuts and a planned restructure of the sector.

Buses, trolleys, trams and the subway didn't run, as strikers with umbrellas gathered at noon to rally to the Finance Ministry on Syntagma Square in central Athens.

Unionists warned that they will stage indefinite strikes, if the government proceeds to the implementation of a reserve labor plan that opens the way for the dismissal of some 30,000 civil servants by year end to early retirement with reduced income up to 60 percent from current earnings.

Meanwhile, the first cold front this autumn that snaps Greece since Saturday caused disruptions in ship sailings, with winds reaching up to gale-force velocity of 9 Beaufort scale, adding to the woes of the residents of Athens.

On Monday rain spilled garbage in the streets, causing more troubles and raising concerns for public health.

Over the past week striking municipal utility company workers have blockaded the capital's main landfill in protest of austerity measures. As a result, tons of uncollected garbage have accumulated on the streets. Protesters said their strike will last to Tuesday night.

In the meantime, Greek Petroleum and Public Electricity Company employees said they will launch their own strikes, starting from Tuesday over planned new cutbacks on wages.

They claimed that they already suffered losses to monthly income that account to 30 percent of their wages from the first wave of austerity last year and the new round of measures will reduce their earnings up to 75 percent.

The Greek government announced a new package of budget cuts and tax hikes in September to meet fiscal consolidation goals agreed with European Union/International Monetary Fund lenders in 2010 and secure further vital aid. Without the next tranche of the aid, Greece could go bankrupt by this December.


Editor:James |Source: CNTV

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