Greek workers strike, seeking wage hike, tax cuts

ATHENS (Reuters) - Public transport was disrupted and ships remained in ports as Greek workers went on strike on Wednesday, seeking increases in minimum wages and the re-introduction of collective bargaining. Greece's biggest private-sector union, GSEE, called the 24-hour walkout, demanding tax cuts and a rise in the minimum wage, which was slashed under the terms of the country's three international bailouts since 2010, which ended in August

Reuters November 29, 2018 03:06:14 IST
Greek workers strike, seeking wage hike, tax cuts

Greek workers strike seeking wage hike tax cuts

ATHENS (Reuters) - Public transport was disrupted and ships remained in ports as Greek workers went on strike on Wednesday, seeking increases in minimum wages and the re-introduction of collective bargaining.

Greece's biggest private-sector union, GSEE, called the 24-hour walkout, demanding tax cuts and a rise in the minimum wage, which was slashed under the terms of the country's three international bailouts since 2010, which ended in August.

"Salaried employees are demanding a cancellation of the tax rises and an across-the-board (monthly) minimum wage of 751 euros," GSEE, which represents 2.5 million workers, said in a statement. "Policies of a punishing austerity, poverty and impoverishment should end once and for all."

The walkout follows a one-day strike by Greece's main public-sector union earlier this month, which also demanded wage and pension increases, hiring and tax cuts.

Greek ships remained docked at the country's ports on Wednesday, as seamen joined the 24-hour strike.

Since its debt crisis began in 2009, Greece has received 260 billion euros ($302 billion) in bailout loans. In exchange, it laid off public-sector workers, raised taxes and cut pensions as part of an austerity drive.

In its first post-bailout budget for 2019, Greece said it would not implement legislated pension cuts, targeting a primary surplus target of 3.6 percent of gross domestic product next year, in line with its commitment to control public finances.

The government of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, which faces elections next year, has also said it would reinstate collective bargaining and raise the minimum wage, which was cut as much as 32 percent to about 500 euros during the crisis, for the first time since 2009.

But GSEE said that the government still would not let employees and employers determine the size of the salaries.

"Today's strike is aiming against another budget of austerity and overtaxation", GSEE's secretary general, Nikos Kioutsoukis, told Reuters. "It is not restoring the collective bargaining regime."

GSEE will hold a protest rally in central Athens later on Wednesday.

(Reporting by Angeliki Koutantou; editing by Michele Kambas, Larry King)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.