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Strikes hit Greece as officials struggle to finalise cuts

Published on Sep 12, 2012 4:48 PM
University professors, staff and researchers hold candles as they protest in front of the Greek parliament against cuts and salaries reductions on Sept 11, 2012. -- PHOTO: AFP

ATHENS (AFP) - A barrage of strikes hit Greece on Wednesday as the government struggled to finalise a new austerity package with international creditors and sought to jumpstart a privatisation drive delayed for months.

Teachers, hospital doctors and municipal staff kicked off separate protests against planned cutbacks and job losses as civil servants and security staff prepared to demonstrate later in the day.

Prime Minister Antonis Samaras has called his coalition partners to a 1630 GMT (12.30am Singapore time) meeting with time running out for Athens to finalise about 11.5 billion euros (S$18.1 billion) in cuts in 2013-14 to unblock access to EU-IMF loans.

News reports on Wednesday said that the government was under intense pressure from its so-called 'troika' of creditors - the EU, IMF and the European Central Bank - to cut pensions and severance pay and revise working hours.

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