Greek Labor Unions to Hold General Strike Over Job CutsMarcus Bensasson
Greek labor unions will hold their third general strike of the year tomorrow as lawmakers in Athens begin a two-day debate on legislation demanded by creditors that includes plans to cut thousands of civil-service jobs.
Government services will shut and transport will be disrupted with protests planned in the capital by public and private-sector trade unions. The unions have also called for a rally outside the parliament building on July 17 as the debate on the bill approaches its climax. Lawmakers are due to carry out a roll-call vote around midnight.
“The workers continue the struggle to put a final end to these policies that kill labor and drive the economy to ever deeper recession,” the Greek General Confederation of Labor, the country’s largest private-sector union, said in an e-mailed statement. “We demand a change to the politics of firings, privatization and divestiture of the public sector.”
The strike is the latest challenge from unions to Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, whose bill includes provisions to push through a plan to put 25,000 public employees on notice for possible dismissal. His government must pass the measures for the country’s euro-area and International Monetary Fund creditors to sign off on the latest loan disbursements from Greece’s 240 billion-euro ($313 billion) bailout.
About 4,200 teachers, school janitors and ministry employees will be placed in a “reallocation program” by the end of July. They will be joined in September by as many as 8,300 members of the municipal police force under the plan, which aims to deploy surplus staff to areas with needs. Employees will have to accept any job offer provided or face dismissal. Greek schools are shut until September for the summer vacation.
Samaras’s coalition was shaken last month after the departure of the Democratic Left Party following the closure of state broadcaster ERT. Samaras’s New Democracy party must now rely on its historic rival, the socialist Pasok party. The two control 155 of the Greek parliament’s 300 seats.
German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble will visit Athens on July 18, the day after the vote, for the first time since Greece sparked the euro area’s debt crisis three years ago.