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General strike paralyses Greece

22 December, 2017Much of Greece ground to a halt on 14 December as workers took part in a 24-hour general strike demanding the government ends austerity measures.

Ferries and flights were suspended, public transport was limited and hospitals treated emergency cases only as doctors joined workers across the country in the strike. Around 50 anti-austerity demonstrations took place across Greece.

Unions are calling on the government to stop making cuts that have led to poverty, high unemployment and restrictions on labour rights. The third international bailout programme is due to end in August 2018, and the country has agreed to continue slashing wages and pensions when external funding comes to an end.

“The 24-hour general strike on 14 December 2017, and all the strikes carried out in protest at the bailout agreement over the past few years in Greece, are also against the attack on labour rights. The bailout programme has left workers, pensioners and socially vulnerable people in a dire situation,” said IndustriALL Global Union affiliate, the Panhellenic Energy Federation (PEF), following the strike.

The union is fighting government measures to abolish collective agreements, sell off energy companies, and change legislation that would limit the right to strike in favour of employers.

IndustriALL’s assistant general secretary, Kemal Özkan, said:

“Austerity measures must not be used as an excuse to undermine labour rights in Greece. Workers have already suffered too long and ordinary people must not be made to bear the brunt of Greece’s debt. We stand in solidarity with our Greek affiliates and call on the government to protect their citizens from further poverty.”