Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

Is Carla Bruni against a political comeback for Sarkozy?

Read more

DEBATE

Clone of Pakistan Protests: Democracy put the test (Part Two)

Read more

DEBATE

Pakistan Protests: Democracy put the test (Part One)

Read more

ENCORE!

The French Maestro of Soul

Read more

FOCUS

US tobacco giants want lion's share of e-cigarette business

Read more

ENCORE!

Bold and bonkers: Kate Bush is back on stage

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Simon Serfaty, US foreign policy specialist

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'It's a War, Stupid!'

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

French PM calls on ECB to go further to help economy

Read more

  • UN backs inquiry of IS group’s alleged crimes in Iraq

    Read more

  • French education ministry picture sparks racist abuse

    Read more

  • Obama calls for higher wages amid 'revving' US economy

    Read more

  • Video: Ukraine’s children return to school as fighting rages on

    Read more

  • Americans detained in North Korea call for US help

    Read more

  • US urges Israel to reverse West Bank land seizure

    Read more

  • Lesotho PM calls for regional peacekeeping force after ‘coup’

    Read more

  • Ukrainian forces retreat from Luhansk airport after clashes

    Read more

  • Teddy Riner, France’s unstoppable judo champion

    Read more

  • Death toll rises in Paris apartment building blast

    Read more

  • Iraqi forces free Amerli in biggest victory over IS militants since June

    Read more

  • French police arrest hungry hedgehog hunters

    Read more

  • Tripoli under control of militias, says government

    Read more

  • Monaco’s Falcao set for Man Utd loan on transfer deadline day

    Read more

  • Spain orders custody for parents of ill British boy

    Read more

  • Web doc on French self-immolation protests takes top prize

    Read more

Europe

Greece hit by fresh anti-austerity strike

© AFP

Video by Kate Moody

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2013-02-20

Greece was left paralysed by a nationwide strike on Wednesday organised by leading unions in protest against continued austerity in the crisis-hit country ahead of an audit by international creditors.

Greece was hit by a fresh strike on Wednesday called by leading unions against unrelenting austerity in the recession-weary nation ahead of an audit by international creditors, disrupting flights, ferries and hospital services.

The radical leftist party Syriza, which heads the opposition, wants to use the strike as a springboard to topple the brittle coalition government of conservative Prime Minister Antonis Samaras.

The strike -- the first general work stoppage in debt-crippled Greece this year -- has forced airport authorities to scrap or reschedule dozens of flights while hospitals were operating on reduced staffing.

Ships will remain docked throughout the day, disrupting ferry services to the islands. And although most public transport will be operating, buses and train services will suffer problems because of planned work stoppages during the day.

Doctors, lawyers and teachers were among several professions joining the action organised by private sector union GSEE and public sector union ADEDY.

"We are fighting for collective bargaining agreements, for measures to be finally taken against unemployment and to ensure our democratic and working rights," GSEE said in a statement.

Separate union-led protests will be held in Athens later in the day.

"The general strike aims to bring down the government and annul (the austerity) agreement and measures," Syriza said in leaflets handed out this week.

"The relentless policy of the Samaras government must be met with a popular uprising. The general strike must be the start of this uprising," it said.

Greece's three-party government insists there is no alternative to the harsh austerity programme demanded by the country's creditors in return for vital loans to stave of bankruptcy.

Successive cuts to salaries and pensions over the past three years have angered Greeks who have frequently taken to the streets to demonstrate their frustration.

The government has pledged to remedy some of the cuts when the economy limps back into growth next year -- a prospect that had been originally forecast for this year.

Facing a sixth year of continuous recession, the heavily-indebted country has been relying on international rescue packages to avoid bankruptcy and get its economy back on track.

Since 2010, the European Union and the International Monetary Fund have committed 240 billion euros ($320 billion) overall in rescue loans to Greece.

Auditors representing Greece's EU, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund creditors are expected in Athens next week to assess the progress of its programme.

Their report will determine whether Athens will receive a scheduled slice of 2.8 billion euros from its international creditors due in February.

Among its obligations to its creditors, Greece must eliminate 25,000 civil service jobs this year, a measure set to cause further union trouble.

The government has seen its parliamentary majority erode after adopting in November a new 18.5-billion-euro round of spending cuts and other reforms by 2016.

The coalition now has 163 deputies in the 300-seat chamber.

(AFP)

Date created : 2013-02-20

  • GREECE

    Hollande vows to invest in Greece on Athens visit

    Read more

  • GREECE

    Greek riot police break up subway strike

    Read more

  • GREECE

    S&P upgrades Greece to B- with stable outlook

    Read more

COMMENT(S)