Greeks are preparing to hold a general strike
Greeks are preparing to hold a fourth general strike of the year against the additional austerity measures the government is required to impose in order to receive international bailout rescue loans.
Unions have called for the Tuesday July 16 national mobilization and the action will close public services, slow down hospital work, obstruct the national rail service, and disrupt over a dozen domestic flights.
Protests are also planned to be held in Athens and Thessaloniki later in the day against a new bill that would redeploy thousands of civil servants.
The latest austerity measure is required by the country’s international lenders, i.e. the European Union and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), in order for Athens to start receiving EUR 6.8 billion (USD 8.9 billion) of fresh aid.
The Greek bill is expected to be passed on Wednesday, placing 4,200 public workers, including teachers, school wardens, and municipal police under so-called redeployment.
Those affected will receive 75 percent of their salary during an eight-month period. During this time, they must either accept a transfer to some other administrative department or risk losing their jobs.
By the end of this year, some 25,000 civil servants must be redeployed overall and an additional 4,000 fired in order for the country to receive access to further payout of approximately 8.1 billion euros (USD 10.4 billion) in bailout rescue loans.
Greece is experiencing its sixth year of recession, which has forced it to impose harsh austerity measures over the past four years in return for multi-billion-euro international bailouts to avoid defaulting on its debt.
The measures are deeply unpopular among the population as citizens have seen their pensions cut and their salaries reduced by up to 40 percent.
Furthermore, the country’s overall unemployment rate has reached a level not seen in its modern history as it stands at 27 percent; the rate is at a shocking 64 percent among the youth.