Greece strikes against budget cuts, labour reforms

Athens (AFP) –


A general strike in Greece on Thursday has paralysed the civil service, trains and ships and will also disrupt some domestic flights as well as the operation of public hospitals and schools.

Greek unions called the 24-hour labour action against new budget cuts and plans to revamp labour mobilisation rules. Separate protests will be held in Athens and major cities during the day.

The mobilisation is aimed against the latest budget, which goes to a vote in parliament on December 22.

The Greek finance ministry is maintaining high taxation with the aim of collecting a budget surplus equivalent to 3.8 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), excluding debt payments in 2018.

The country's EU-IMF creditors have also demanded a revision in labour law, setting a higher worker participation requirement for strikes to be held at primary union level.

Greece has tougher targets to meet this year, as the primary surplus goal mandated by its international creditors is 3.5 percent, up from 1.75 percent this year.

The ministry last month said that enough "fiscal room" has achieved to permit tax cuts after 2018, when the country is scheduled to exit its third multi-billion EU-backed bailout.