ATHENS Feb 22 Most Greeks think austerity
measures taken by the socialist government to get the country
out of its fiscal crisis go in the right direction, a poll
published at the weekend showed.
Pressured by financial markets and European Union partners,
Greece has frozen public sector wages and cut salary allowances
by 10 percent this year to lower its wage bill as it scrambles
to cut its budget deficit by 4.0 percentage points of GDP.
A poll by Marc for Sunday's Ethnos newspaper showed that
57.6 percent consider the belt-tightening goes in the right
direction and 74.2 percent think the government was too slow to
The poll also showed that 75.8 percent of Greeks think there
should be no strike action until the crisis has passed.
Greece's public and private sector unions will stage a
one-day strike on Wednesday to protest against the austerity
package, testing the government's resolve as additional measures
including a VAT hike may be in store.
Customs officials protesting over the pay freeze returned to
work on Monday after a court declared their strike illegal.
The walkout, which began to crumble last Friday when some
regions voted to halt the action, had led to petrol shortages at
Athens filling stations.
The poll showed that a 51.3 percent majority think the
government measures under EU supervision will lead the country
out of the fiscal crisis with 43 percent saying they will not.
Prime Minister George Papandreou has said the government
will do whatever is necessary to ensure there is no slippage
from the EU-endorsed fiscal plan which targets to shrink the
budget hole to 8.7 percent of GDP this year.
According to the poll, 64.1 percent believes the austerity
measures are not spread fairly with only 28.8 percent saying the
government is making efforts to share the burden equitably.