Greek Transit Workers Strike

Posted November 2nd, 2012 at 10:55 am (UTC-5)
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Greek transit workers struck Friday in the first of what labor officials say will be a new wave of protests against austerity measures the Athens government is seeking to impose.

Subway and suburban rail service in Athens was halted as engineers protested labor reforms that Greece's lenders are demanding in exchange for handing the country another segment of a bailout to keep the country from running out of money. Labor unions are planning a general strike on Tuesday and Wednesday as parliament considers $17 billion in spending, benefit and pension cuts.

One engineer, Yannis Bournas, said he expects parliament to approve the unpopular austerity plan but that it will lead to the demise of the current Greek political parties. Even after weeks of negotiations, the governing coalition has been unable to reach agreement on the extent of the reforms.

“I believe that these measures will pass in parliament but it will be very hard to implement them, so I believe that these measures will result in a crisis in the Greek political establishment. I believe that new parties will come to be and the ones we have now will be forgotten.''

Greece is in the fifth year of a recession, and more than a quarter of its workforce is unemployed.