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Europe

Anti-austerity protesters block government buildings

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2011-10-04

A day after eurozone ministers delayed a decision to give Greece the next instalment of bailout cash, demonstrators protesting pay cuts blocked the entrances to the finance and labour ministries in Athens Tuesday.

AP - Dozens of protesters blocked the entrances to Greece's finance and labor ministries on Tuesday to voice fears over their job security and pay cuts as the cash-strapped country struggled to avoid a financial meltdown that threatens to prolong a global recession.

Protesters in front of the finance ministry's shuttered doors say they don't want to be among the thousands of public sector workers to be suspended on reduced pay as part of additional spending cuts the beleaguered Greek government is making to meet fiscal targets and keep receiving bailout money.

A PAME union press release said protesters in front of the labor ministry accuse the government of giving in to business interests by slashing the minimum wage and scrapping collective bargaining agreements.

Greece depends on a 110 billion ($150 billion) bailout from other eurozone countries and the International Monetary Fund to pay its bills. It was granted a second, 109 billion bailout in July, but details of that deal remain to be worked out.

Eurozone finance chiefs indicated early Tuesday that Greece will get a loan installment to avoid default, even after Athens said it won't be able to cut its budget deficit to a promised target in exchange for help.

A string of missed fiscal targets has stoked fears that Greece - weighed under a massive debt load - is headed toward certain default, stalling the global economy's slow recovery from recession.

Jean-Claude Juncker, the Luxembourg prime minister who also chairs the meetings of eurozone finance ministers, said that ``everything will be done to avoid'' a Greek default.

Juncker said the other ministers would decide on handing Greece another 8 billion ($10.8 billion) from the first ¤110 billion bailout later this month.

He said the country would be able to meet its financial obligations as long as it receives the money by November, although Athens has said in the past it would start running out of money by the middle of this month.

Debt inspectors from the IMF, European Central Bank and European Commission, known as the troika, are in Greece reviewing reforms to see if Athens has done enough to receive the next bailout installment.

 

Date created : 2011-10-04

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