General Strike over Austerity Brings Greece to a Halt



Greek workers have walked off their jobs for a 24-hour general strike that is shutting down  services across the country.

Domestic flights and Athens transport were disrupted, ships remained docked for 24 hours, and some public services were shut down, as part of the strike organised by Greece’s largest labour unions, private sector union GSEE, and its public sector counterpart ADEDY.

State-run hospitals were accepting only emergency cases as medical staff joined in the strike, while state schools remained shut.

Those observing the strike were expected to march to parliament on Thursday, where lawmakers are debating the 2018 budget. The country’s fiscal goals have been approved by its European Union lenders, and the International Monetary Fund.

As part of its latest bailout review, the government has agreed to cut spending further, to reduce pensions benefits, to complete the evaluation of the public sector’s staff, tighten the rules for unions to call a strike, and sell coal-fired power stations.

The state had adopted ‘ruthless dead end policies which were strangling the Greek people’, unions said in a statement.