ATHENS: Greek labour unions held their third general strike of the year as lawmakers in Athens begin a two-day debate on legislation demanded by creditors that includes plans to cut thousands of civil-service jobs.
Government services were expected to be shut and transport disrupted on July 16 with protests planned in the capital by public and private-sector trade unions. The unions have also called for a rally outside the parliament building on July 17 as the debate on the bill approaches its climax. Lawmakers are scheduled to carry out a roll-call vote around midnight.
The strike is the latest challenge from unions to Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, whose bill includes provisions to push through a plan to put 25,000 public employees on notice for possible dismissal. His government must pass the measures for the country’s euro-area and International Monetary Fund creditors to sign off on the latest loan disbursements from Greece’s €240 billion (HK$2.5 trillion) bailout.
Samaras’s coalition was shaken last month after the departure of the Democratic Left Party following the closure of state broadcaster ERT. Samaras’s New Democracy party must now rely on its historic rival, the socialist Pasok party. The two control 155 of the Greek parliament’s 300 seats.
German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble will visit Athens on July 18, the day after the vote, for the first time since Greece sparked the euro area’s debt crisis three years ago.