As the Greek socialist government does its best to convince European inspectors that it can pass austerity measures and meet the demands of investors, Greek workers are taking to the street in protest. So far the government and those imposing demands on the government simply ignore the disruptions and the fact that austerity policies are helping to send the Greek economy into a tailspin.
Already strikes have stopped garbage collection in Athens and stopped ferries running to outlying islands. Even tax collectors and customs officers are on strike. But as of Wednesday the 19th two big unions are calling for a whole 48 hour work stoppage.
These new strikes are timed to coincide with a vote on new and even more drastic austerity provisions. The vote is scheduled for Thursday. A new bailout decision will be made on Sunday Oct. 23rd at a meeting in Brussels.
An Al Jazeera reporter noted that the new decision will "effectively replace the July 21st second bailout, which was worth 110bn euros and was going to see Greece through to 2014""What will replace that agreement is widely expected to be less favourable, so Greece is very anxious to have a say in that," As a result Papandreou is going to Brussels for talks prior to the meeting.
The strike will close down all public services on Wednesday and Thursday even the Athens international airport. On Monday many austerity measures were approved by parliament. These include pension cuts and across-the-board tax hikes, as well as pay and staff cuts in the civil service. One wonders what use a tax hike is when tax collectors are on strike!
ADEDY the public worker's union said:"The government is destroying its central administration and cutting away the safety net for our citizens, while dramatic cuts in pay are driving workers into poverty and deprivation," "The latest measures are the deathblow for our income." The prime minister Papandreou however said he is determined to see the austerity measures implemented.
A member of the government party has just resigned in protest against the austerity measures.Thomas Robopoulos in his resignation letter to Papandreou noted:"I can no longer continue to vote without knowing what I'm voting about ... to vote for unjust and unpopular measures under threat that the government will collapse," Papandreou will face even more opposition later in the week on the streets and no doubt in parliament as well.