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Austerity prompts protest strikes

- by Archimedes

Austerity prompts protest strikes.

Greece is yet again in the grip of a general strike in protest at austerity measures but the latest unrest is unlikely to affect holiday tourists. Unions began a two-day general strike today in protest as thousands of municipal employees lose their jobs. Strikers have been joined by high school teachers with a five-day strike as social unrest threatens to create civil disorder.

The strike affects all public services across Greece. Schools and courts are closed and hospitals run with reduced staff.

Trains will stop running for four hours and journalists pitched in with a work stoppage. But ferries and airports are operating normally so holiday tourists should not be much affected by the action.

The walkouts are the first in a series of widespread strikes designed to put pressure on the government to end unpopular austerity measures.

But the Greek government says it will stand firm in the face of tough conditions by international lenders for several bailout packages.

Everyone from rubbish collectors to doctors and lawyers have joined in strikes.

Prime Minister Antonis Samara is known for his tough stance on strikes after police moved in earlier this year against striking metro and port workers.

The government says it has no alternative that to cut public service employees in return for bailout loans that have kept the economy from collapsing.