ATHENS – Greece braced itself on Wednesday for its first general strike of 2017, called by the country’s largest trade unions.
The Greek syndicates called on its members to take part in a day of class action protesting the recent agreement signed between the Greek government and its international financial creditors.
A new package of austerity measures included in the agreement had sparked outrage among workers.
However, the general strike was backed by some sectors more than in others.
While retail commerce hardly followed the call to strike, the Greek mass transit system remained in their depots until 8 am local time.
Both Athens’ subway and tram lines were expected to stop again as from 3 pm and the bus lines were set to do likewise as from 8 pm.
Both the Public Health system and City halls were affected as the strike was observed by over 50 percent of the civil service workforce, a spokesperson for Adedy, the civil service trade union, told EFE.
The strike was followed, for the first time in many years, by the Greek air traffic controllers which forced the cancellation or delay of 185 flights, an Athens International airport source told EFE.
According to Athens police, some 12,000 demonstrators marched on the Greek parliament, where a plenary assembly was debating the creditors’ agreement that foresees up to 18 percent cuts in pensions as from 2019 and also increases taxes on low and middle incomes as from 2020 to the tune of 4.9 billion euros ($5.4 billion) annually.
The unions had already nicknamed this rescue package as the “fourth memorandum” as it sought to include previously unforeseen adjustments to be applied once the current bailout program matured.
According to Greek opposition parties and trade unions, the worst of this recent agreement is that Greece will be obliged to comply with further austerity measures without obtaining any compensation for it.