SOME 15,000 state workers in Greece are to be sacked by the end of 2014. The government said this was needed to cut costs and secure more bailout funds from the EU and international creditors. As the measures were passed there were protests outside the Greek Parliament building organised by ADEDY, the federation of civil services unions, and private sector union GSEE. Unions say the plans will only add to Greece’s record unemployment rate of 27 per cent and will mainly affect older workers already struggling to ensure their families’ survival.
The IMF has said that Greece is too reliant on voluntary departures in the public sector and that “the taboo against mandatory dismissals must be overcome.” Under the current bailout plans 150,000 public sector jobs are to be cut by 2015, 20 per cent of the total.
A May Day general strike was also held a few days later which severely disrupted transport, bringing trains and ferries to a halt. Hospitals and other public services were also affected. There were further demonstrations in Athens and across the country with unions demanding an end to spending cuts and tax rises which have brought Greece to its knees with almost two-thirds of its young people out of work.
The general secretary of ADEDY said “people just can’t take any more”. Greece is in its sixth year of recession and the IMF predicts a further contraction in the economy of 4.6 per cent in 2013. ■