March 19, 2008


Millions strike in Greece over pensions reform

March 20, 2008 - 7:00AM
Source: ABC

Millions of Greeks have joined a 24-hour nationwide strike against planned pension reforms, grounding flights and closing ancient monuments, schools and banks.

Police clashed with anarchists, who set fire to cars in central Athens, after thousands of protesters had marched to parliament, beating drums and chanting "the bill is a fraud".

The conservative Government wants to overhaul the social security system which experts say is destined to collapse in 15 years if left unchanged. A final parliamentary vote on a pension reform bill takes place on Thursday.

"The participation in the strike is total. We are talking about millions,"
said Spyros Papaspyros, president of the civil servants' umbrella union ADEDY, one of the strike organisers.
"The Government must not underestimate this public outrage."

About 10,000 marched in the capital and 50-60 self-proclaimed anarchists hurled a petrol bomb at police, who replied with tear gas. The anarchists dispersed but not before smashing the windows of three banks and setting fire to garbage cans and cars in central Athens, police said.

At least 150 flights could be cancelled and many more delayed after air traffic controllers walked out. Monuments and the Athens Acropolis shut early and schools, ministries and banks were closed.

ADEDY and its private sector sister GSEE represent about 2.5 million members. A government official who requested anonymity said participation in the public sector was about 31 per cent.

Unions got unexpected support from the European Central Bank (ECB), which urged the Government to redraft the bill before it goes for the final vote because it may hurt the Greek central bank's independence and financial standing.

The ECB said the bill may force the Greek central bank to fund activities normally financed by the state, in breach of EU rules. There was no immediate reaction from the government.

- Reuters

Yeah, the rules are meant to be broken when written by White GuyZ - that's the RACKET. So impressive, eh??

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