Top Greek union calls austerity strike
Greece’s main union on Thursday called for a strike in Athens next week as the government upped pressure on labour unions to accept wage cuts to avert bankruptcy.
The GSEE union said Tuesday’s strike would send a “strong message” to the government, employers and Greece’s institutional creditors “who are planning new and harsher anti-labour measures.”
GSEE said it would join forces with smaller Communist labour groups that had originally called the strike earlier this month.
The government has called on unions and employers to revise wages to boost competitiveness at a time when the economy is facing its worst recession in decades.
Prime Minister Lucas Papademos has warned that labour cuts are among measures that will determine Greece’s economic survival, as they are tied to European and International Monetary Funds keeping the country afloat.
The unions counter that the recession is a direct result of austerity measures followed for nearly two years under EU-IMF supervision.
Auditors from the EU, the IMF and the European Central Bank are expected in Athens next week for talks on a 130-billion-euro ($166-billion) eurozone bailout that will keep the country from defaulting on past loans in March.