Greece faces anti-austerity shutdown as EU meets
ATHENS (REUTERS) - Greek workers will walk off the job for the second time in three weeks on Thursday, hoping to show European Union (EU) leaders meeting in Brussels that a new wave of wage and pension cuts will only worsen the plight of a people worn down by five years of recession.
Mired in its worst downturn since World War II, Greece is preparing 11.5 billion euros (S$18.3 billion) of cuts to satisfy the "troika" of the European Commission, European Central Bank and IMF, and secure the next installment of its 130-billion-euro bailout.
"Just once, the government ought to reject the troika's absurd demands," said Yannis Panagopoulos, head of the General Confederation of Greek Workers (GSEE) private sector union, one of two major unions that represent about 2 million people, or half of Greece's workforce.
"Agreeing to catastrophic measures means driving society to despair and the consequences as well as the protests will then be indefinite," he said.