Greek civil servants on strike against EU-IMF job cuts

ATHENS (AFP) - Tens of thousands of Greek civil servants went on strike Monday against a new round of job cuts enacted by the government to gain access to promised EU-IMF loans.

In Athens, several thousand whistle-blowing civil servants staged a protest outside the administrative reform ministry as the government prepared to enshrine the layoffs in a new law.

The crowd, around 4,000 protesters according to a police source, included many uniformed local police, many of whom could also lose their jobs in the overhaul.

"We are not numbers, we are workers," read a banner carried by the protesters.

"In a country where unemployment has reached 30 per cent and youth unemployment 60 per cent, new measures that will cause even greater poverty are being promoted," the union of civil servants ADEDY said in a statement.

Earlier on Monday, Greece's international creditors announced in Brussels the conclusion of a technical audit on the country's reforms, unlocking a payment of 8.1 billion euros (S$12.6 billion) if the report is approved by finance ministers.

Eurozone finance ministers are scheduled to meet later in the day in the Belgian capital, to decide if Greece has sufficiently fulfilled the terms of its bailout deal, in order to receive the next tranche of aid from its rescue loans.

Reforms that Athens has pledged to carry out include the dismissal of 4,000 state jobs by the end of the year and the redeployment of 25,000 civil servants.

Among them are some 3,500 local police, who are to be incorporated in the national police force.

Late on Sunday, Athens Mayor George Kaminis was assaulted as he left a mayors' meeting on the issue.

Mr Kaminis, who has publicly opposed the local administration layoffs, blamed the union of local administration staff POE-OTE for the attack but the union denied any involvement.