Greeks stage 24-hour strike over austerity measures, layoffs

Hundreds of Greek public sector workers have started a 24-hour strike in Athens over the government’s new austerity measures and planned lay-offs.

Public sector unions organized the strike on Wednesday, which has halted public transport, grounded flights and shut down schools across the nation.

Also on Wednesday, train staffers started a 48-hour strike against the proposed privatization of Greece’s national railway. The strikes have paralyzed the country’s public transportation.

Unions say the bombardment of austerity measures have cut into the livelihoods of many Greeks.

“Working Greeks demonstrated against the politics of austerity, unemployment and the sellout of public property,” the private sector’s General Confederation of Greek Workers, said in a statement.

The main civil service union Adedy said the stoppage comes in response to the three years of spending cuts and tax hikes that has led to the “destruction” of public services.

The new set of austerity measures sees another 18 billion euros in budget cuts by 2016.

An estimated 27,000 civil servants are due for salary deductions followed by a transfer or total dismissal in the coming year.

Greece has been at the epicenter of the eurozone debt crisis and is starting its sixth year of recession, while harsh austerity measures have left about half a million people without jobs.

The European Union and International Monetary Fund have granted Greece’s requests for bailout loans purely based on meeting strict debt-cutting measures, which the government has implemented regardless of the public opinion.

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