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Greek workers strike against pension cuts
 

March 2020

Traffic in parts of the Greek capital came to a standstill on Tuesday as Greek transport workers joined a 24-hour public sector strike over pension cuts.
Buses, trolleys, trams and metro transportation was out of operation for the day. Workers from the Athens suburban railway Proastiakos and intercity trains announced they would also participate in the strikes.
Public hospitals operated on minimal staff, as the Panhellenic Federation of Public Hospitals Workers (POEDIN) also took part in the protests.
Most ferries at the ports of Piraeus, Lavrio and Rafina remained docked on Tuesday, as five seamen’s unions joined the strike, led by the Panhellenic Union of Merchant Navy Seamen (PENEN).
Protesters marched onto Syntagma Square in front of the Parliament building, where the contentious legislation would be voted on by conservative MPs.
Workers’ unions claim that the bill “privatizes social security and pushes thousands of young workers to seek private superannuation cover.”
They also accuse the government of reneging on a promise to rescind all austerity cuts.
“The bill is nothing less than a continuation of the austerity measures that were voted in 2010-2019 and resulted in pension cuts of 20% up to 60%,” said ADEDY, the country’s largest public sector union, in a statement.
The deep economic crisis within the Greek as well as the European economy, particularly within the private banking sector, drove Greece to the brink of bankruptcy in 2010 and forced the Governments to borrow heavily from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund.
In return for billions of euros to rescue the private business sector and the banks from bankruptcy, the Greek Governments agreed to relinquish publish assets such as airports, hospitals and schools and handed them over to the powerful European corporations. The Greek Governments also accepted harsh austerity reforms and severe pension cuts.

 

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