Greek civil servants stage 24-hour strike

Workers protest cuts to pay and pensions
||Last Updated: 11/16/2010

Greek civil servants walked off the job on Oct. 7 in a 24-hour strike to protest government austerity measures enacted to bolster the company's debt-ridden economy.

About 65 per cent of the country's 380,000 civil servants participated in the work stoppage, said ADEDY, the umbrella union organizing the strike.

The day of action culminated in a peaceful demonstration in central Athens.

The strike shut down tax offices, municipalities and state schools, while state-run hospitals functioned with emergency staff. Air traffic controllers participated with a four-hour work stoppage, grounding all flights to and from Greece from 3-7 p.m.

The government's austerity measures include cutting civil servants' pay and pensions, as well as increasing taxes.

Civil servants have taken a 15-per-cent pay cut on average because of the measures aimed at decreasing the budget deficit to about eight per cent of gross domestic product from 13.6 per cent in 2009.

However, they have enjoyed job security not seen in the private sector during the recession. Unemployment is expected to increase to 14.5 per cent in 2011 from more than 11 per cent in 2010.

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