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Outcry over austerity in Greece

Tuesday, January 17, 2012 - 02:20

Jan. 17 - Unions in Greece protest austerity measures -- warning the government against more cuts. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.

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Thousands fill the streets of Athens Tuesday as part of a 24-hour walkout against government austerity measures. The protest comes as European Union and International Monetary Fund inspectors are due back in the capital for discussions on a second bailout for Greece. Many public and private sector workers have been hard hit by tax hikes and spending cuts which were part of a first bailout in 2010. They say they can't take any more belt-tightening. (SOUNDBITE) (Greek) PRESIDENT OF CONFEDERATION OF CIVIL SERVANTS (ADEDY) KOSTAS TSIKRIKAS, SAYING: "We demand another policy that will support the worker, that will be humane and will concentrate on his needs, that it will respect labor laws and does not bow to speculators and markets." The EU, IMF and European Central Bank inspectors -- known as the troika -- are expected back in Athens as early as this week. The latest review plays a key role in Greece receiving the second package of financial aid, which it needs to keep from going bankrupt. Until now private sector wages have been untouched by the government's austerity measures - but jobs in the private sector have been lost and some employers have cut wages independently. While some took to the streets, others simply closed down. The Athens subway was shut down. And all was quiet at the Port of Piraeus because of the strike. Cash-strapped Athens is also in the midst of talks with creditors over a debt swap deal. It is running out of time and needs an agreement with banks to avoid going bankrupt when 14.5 billion euros of bond redemptions are due on March 20. But talks broke down on Friday over the interest rate on new bonds. Deborah Lutterbeck, Reuters

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Outcry over austerity in Greece

Tuesday, January 17, 2012 - 02:20