Greek Transportation Workers Strike Over Austerity Cuts

Posted September 22nd, 2011 at 3:35 am (UTC-5)
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A day long strike by Greek public transit workers and taxi drivers over government austerity cuts has created traffic gridlock in Athens Thursday.

Air traffic controllers are staging a shorter strike that forced airlines to cancel and reschedule flights.

The work stoppage comes one day after the Greek government imposed more austerity cuts to keep international bailout payments coming.

The Athens government said Wednesday it will increase the number of civil servants receiving only 60 percent of their normal salaries, cut pensions for some retirees and trim the tax-free portion of wages for low-income workers.

On Tuesday, creditors funding last year’s $159 billion bailout demanded another $8 billion in austerity measures, on top of earlier tax increases and spending cuts.

Greece is mired in a three-year recession and has been hard-pressed to meet the terms of the bailout. It could run out of money in October — and default on its obligations — if the International Monetary Fund, the European Union and the European Central Bank do not release an $11 billion portion of the bailout money.

The International Monetary Fund says Greece has made impressive progress. It says Greece’s European partners will stand by Athens as long as it continues to pursue sound policies.

The Greek economy will be discussed at the annual IMF meeting in Washington starting Friday.