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ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: Grèce : nouvelle grève de vingt-quatre heures

by Damien Roustel

Greece: Another 24-Hour Strike

Translated Thursday 10 January 2013, by Gene Zbikowski and reviewed by Derek Hanson

On Dec. 19, the country was again in slow mode to condemn a new series of austerity measures as the International Monetary Fund OKed a 34-billion-euro loan.

The Greeks are not throwing in the towel. Once again, the country was partly paralyzed by a 24-hour general strike to condemn the government’s economic austerity policies. Government offices and transportation were in slow mode. The strike call was issued by the two main trade union confederations: Adedy for the public sector and GSEE for the private sector. It was to be the year’s last strike.

A national work stoppage was organized from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the private sector. Civil aviation workers joined the strike. Airplanes were grounded from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Subways were not running in Athens during the morning rush hour, triggering massive traffic jams.

Hundreds of civil servants and workers at state-owned companies demonstrated in the capital. “The Greek workers are demonstrating against policies that result in austerity, unemployment, and selling off state property on the cheap” through privatization programs,” the main trade union, Adedy, which organized the demonstration, said. “No to plunging the people into poverty,” was one of the trade union’s slogans. Adedy concentrated its attack on the latest series of austerity measures, the fourth since 2010, when the country entered the debt crisis. According to the trade union, the plan, which was adopted in November, which for the first time allows the lay-off of civil servants and which reduces public services even more, is going to “destroy the social state and the public services.”

The demonstrators also condemned a future tax reform which will hit the middle classes.

The strike came as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) freed up a 34.3-billion-euro loan installment, which had been frozen since June. The condition for this aid was the slashing of 9 billion euros from the budget in 2013. On Dec. 18, the ratings agency Standard and Poor’s announced it had raised Greece’s ratings by six notches, from “Selective Default” (SD) to “B-”. For their part, the Greeks are refusing to tighten their belts another notch.

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