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deal or no deal as greek citizens refuse to bow to e.u. troika's austerity package

An emergency general strike was called for in Greece on Tuesday (7th) by trade unions and leftist organisations. Once again people took to the streets in response to yet another austerity package as dictated by the troika (the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund). The measures must be accepted in return for the second rescue package.

The strike took place on the same day as Angela Merkel expanded on Europe’s future and the talks between Greek PM Lucas Papademos and the leaders of Greece’s three largest political parties in yet another attempt to reach an agreement over the 130 billion euro package.

The strike shut down many schools across the country. Local and government offices were shut for the day. Hospitals operated with emergency staff. Bus, rail and metro services were operational but more dysfunctional than usual due to the strikes. The demonstrations were relatively peaceful with 20,000 attending the Athens protests. A German flag was set alight as they called on the Greek PM to resign shouting “Democracy here and now!” by the steps of Parliament, riot cops cleared the protesters in Syntagma square with the aid of tear gas.

The troika and Greek government negotiations are another way of saying the troika gives the Greek government the terms they must abide to if they are to continue to get their welfare packages. The latest package is hitting 130 billion euros (£109 million).The 'negotiations' read a little something like this: a 22% decrease in the national minimum wage (32% if you are under 25), a cut in unemployment benefit, the loss of 15,000 state jobs this year with a total of 150,000 job losses by 2015, cutting GDP by 1.5%, recapitalising banks without nationalising them to name but a few. If Greece agrees to a deal (deal with the devil or default that is the question), EU leaders are expected to approve the package by the week's end. But Greece is in a catch 22 where they have to reduce their deficit by spending less, but without government investment there is no growth. It's uncertain how long this can go on for; Greece has been kept solvent since May 2010 with EU loans. It is a lose lose situation. At time of press Greece needs to find 300 million euros to hit the target mark for 2012 and convince international lenders it has what it takes because this time it will surely be oh so different, eh? The 300 million euro was a proposed cut to pensions the Greek government rejected because, after all, elections are looming up.

Out of patients

Greek citizens continue to fight to assert their rights. On Monday (6th) a general hospital in Kilkis was occupied by its workers. This is another ripple of the austerity measures. They have issued a statement saying it is now fully under workers control. All decisions from now on will be made by a workers general assembly. As of Monday (6th) hospital workers will only deal with emergencies until their wages have been paid to them and their wage levels return to pre-austerity levels. There are similar stories of autonomous grass roots action taken up by exasperated people all across Greece from city suburbs to farm dwellings. On Wednesday (7th) morning 100 union members of GENOP-DEI (union of electricity workers) entered the Ministry of Development building and occupied the 6th floor thereby confining minister Papakonstantinou within. Riot police managed to get him out later that afternoon bashing a worker or two en route to the target minister. Meanwhile, the steelworkers' strike in Athens enters its 100th day.

There are 4 comments on this story...
Added By: Berkman - 10th February 2012 @ 1:25 AM
The following statement has been issued by the hospital workers:
Added By: Anarchiste. - 14th February 2012 @ 8:46 AM
One out, all out of the New World Order Europe.
Added By: Anonymous - 28th February 2012 @ 4:40 PM
Added By: Jeveux - 18th March 2012 @ 10:41 AM
Hallo, ich bin der Administrator der Gruppe MAGICART OF TEXTURES (ONLY INVITE)FIRST CONTEST POSTING OPEN, und wir wfcrden uns freuen, wenn Du dies zu eusernr Gruppe hinzuffcgen wfcrdest.excellent .. what an atmosphere in this ..fine art
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