Greek plans to rescue economy spark strike
THE Greek government's emergency efforts to revive the country's ailing economy met with angry protests in Athens yesterday, as customs officials and tax collectors went on the first of an expected rash of strikes.
The two-day protest comes after the government enacted a brutal reform package in response to a disastrous economic picture in the eurozone's weakest economy.
The absence of the customs workers was already felt yesterday, as lines of trucks formed at the country's borders unable to bring imports into the country except perishable goods and pharmaceuticals.
Public sector workers are unhappy at what they see as excessive cuts announced this week. "We have already made sacrifices and will accept no more cuts," said Argyris Sakellaropoulos, the union leader of Greece's customs officials.
Prime Minister George Papandreou's planned reforms, announced in a desperate attempt to slash the 12.7pc deficit to the EU limit of 3pc by 2012, have barely been better received in world markets. The Athens stock exchange dropped 1.5pc yesterday, while markets on both sides of the Atlantic followed suit.
Greece's economy has already been hit by unrest from farmers, who last month blocked key highways, demanding more subsidies and higher prices.
EU and Greek officials have ruled out bail-out assistance, but the International Monetary Fund has said it was ready to help Greece. (© Independent News Service)