Greece makes austerity push, workers gear for strike

November 5, 2012 02:44

ATHENS - Greece's government will present a new austerity package to parliament on Monday, facing a week of strikes and protests over proposals which must win deputies' approval if the country is to secure more aid and stave off bankruptcy.

Parliament is expected to vote on Prime Minister Antonis Samaras' package of 13.5 billion euros ($17 billion) in cost cuts and tax hikes on Wednesday along with measures making it easier for firms to hire and fire workers.

Despite public exasperation at four years of belt-tightening that has helped wipe out a fifth of the economy and leave a quarter of Greeks jobless, the package and a tough budget slated for a vote on Sunday are expected to scrape through parliament.

Greece's powerful main public and private sector unions will launch a 48 hour strike against the legislation on Tuesday and plan marches in Athens' city center. Journalists, doctors, transport workers and shopkeepers are also planning stoppages.

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