Greek Labor Unions Call For July Strike In Response to IMF, EU Austerity

 @natrudy
on July 10 2013 7:54 AM
Greece Strike
A woman walks through the empty Athens International Airport, or Eleftherios Venizelos, during a general 24-hour strike in the country, Feb. 24, 2010. At the time, flights were grounded and ministries and schools were shut in Greece as civil servants and private sector workers went on a nationwide strike to protest EU-backed austerity measures. Reuters Photo

Greek labor unions on Wednesday called for a daylong strike on July 16 to protest against planned public sector layoffs, Reuters reports. The layoffs are required by the country's international lenders, including the International Monetary Fund and the European Union, if Greece is to receive more funds from them.

The two largest Greek public and private sector unions, known as GSEE and ADEDY, have staged several strikes since the Greek debt crisis started in 2009. Together, they represent about 2.5 million workers.

Greek leaders secured a tentative deal with the nation's lenders on Monday, allowing euro zone finance ministers to approve the latest slice of bailout funds. Protests erupted in Athens on Monday in response to the lenders’ commitment to public sector staff cuts.

Greek wages are also falling fast, reaching their lowest point in a decade recently, which could add to public discontent.

A senior European trade union official criticized banks for smoothly receiving bailouts and wealthy Greeks for dodging taxes, even as ordinary Greeks suffered, during a May 2010 general strike by the same two trade unions.

Greek’s public debt has ballooned from 107.4 percent of gross domestic product in 2007 to about 157 percent of national GDP in 2012, according to EU statistics agency Eurostat

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