Greeks go on strike over austerity as EU meets

By REUTERS
October 18, 2012 09:26

 
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ATHENS - Greek workers walked off the job for the second time in three weeks on Thursday, hoping to show EU leaders meeting in Brussels that a new wave of wage and pension cuts will only worsen their plight after five years of recession.

Streets emptied in central Athens as most business and public sector activity ground to a halt at the start of the 24-hour strike called by the country's two biggest labour unions, ADEDY and GSEE.

Greece is stuck in its worst downturn since World War Two and must make at least 11.5 billion euros of cuts to satisfy the "troika" of the European Commission, European Central Bank and IMF, and secure the next tranche of a 130-billion-euro bailout.

"Just once, the government ought to reject the troika's absurd demands," said Yannis Panagopoulos, head of the GSEE private sector union, one of two major unions that represent about 2 million people, or half of Greece's workforce.

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