Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Greece has been hit with a general strike for the first time this year, as the country's largest public and private sectors engage in protest rallies against the government's austerity policies.

The walkout was organized by the country's largest private and public sector unions, the GSEE and ADEDY,on Wednesday. 

The strike has paralyzed maritime traffic and train services, disrupting urban transport in Athens and was set to cause a four-hour flight blackout, AFP reported.

The strike has affected operations in hospitals and schools and has even resulted in the closing down of public administration offices.

Papandreou agreed to adopt austerity measures in return for bailout loans worth EUR 110 billion by the EU and the IMF last May.
Transport workers and leftist parties have been protesting the reforms approved by the parliament by engaging in massive strikes. Those on strike say they fear of privatization and the manipulation of their rights.

Last year seven general strikes were held in response to severe spending cuts ordered by Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou's government. The cuts came in return for a 150-billion-dollar loan from the EU and the International Monetary Fund.

The cuts have led to Greece's deepening recession, putting to question the country's ability to meet its loan obligations. source

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