Dec 4, 2013
Greek Unions Hold Strike Against Austerity Policies
Posted on Feb 20, 2013
Greeks are resisting a combination of government spending cuts and tax hikes—which some believe will result in an unemployment rate of 30 percent—imposed by international bailout creditors.
“We are protesting about (reduced) pensions, emergency taxes, the high cost of life,” said retired factory worker Kyriakos Anastassiadis.
Unions want the renewal of binding collective labor contracts instead of individual deals that give employers more control over salaries. They also want the government to support the collapsing labor market, in which roughly 1,000 jobs have been lost every day since 2010.
Working-class Greeks and other Europeans face a lifetime of paying off creditors as they lack some of the economic protections enjoyed by Americans. Greeks who are unable to pay their mortgages, for example, cannot declare bankruptcy and walk away from their homes. They remain personally liable for the money and have to spend some portion of the rest of their lives repaying it in a state of debt peonage.
“The Greek people have no tolerance left,” Ilias Iliopoulos, general secretary of the civil servants union ADEDY, said ahead of the strike. “For us, the time has come for a major confrontation with the government ... and [with] policies that are taking our country from bad to worse and leading people to poverty and desperation.”
—Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.
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