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Greek workers strike, seeking higher wages, tax cuts

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Greek workers strike, seeking higher wages, tax cuts

Greek workers strike, seeking higher wages, tax cuts

Greek workers walked off the job on Wednesday (November 28) demanding an increase in the minimum wage and tax cuts after years of harsh austerity.

David Pollard reports.


Greek workers strike, seeking higher wages, tax cuts

Bread for sale on the streets of Athens but these marchers say it's still hard to earn a crust This is the second major walkout within weeks - organised by Greece's largest public sector union.

Workers and pensioners united in anger at the austerity they say they still suffer.

(SOUNDBITE) (Greek) PENSIONER GEORGE ANAGNOSTOPOULOS, AGED 69, SAYING: "We are fighting to take back everything that they took from us, because we cannot survive any longer.

How is it possible a pensioner can't afford to buy a single chocolate bar for his grandchild?" Elsewhere, buses at a standstill and the main port of Piraeus brought to a halt as a city feels the fallout.

Greece has received 260 billion euros in bailout loans since its debt crisis began in 2009.

But had to slash wages, pensions and jobs to get them.

In his first post-bailout budget, prime minister Alexis Tsipras said he won't cut pensions any more - and will raise the minimum wage - next year.

When he faces elections.

(SOUNDBITE) (Greek) STRIKING BANK EMPLOYEE IVA KARIOTI, AGED 46, SAYING: "It is common for this government, just like the previous ones, to promise things to workers.

But we have the experience and we know that nothing is going to be implemented." For analysts, growth in positive territory for six straight quarters and a rising property market give hope of an economy on the mend.

Even as a recovering euro zone - and its central bank - grapple with their own policy dilemmas.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) CHIEF ECONOMIC ADVISER, CEBR, VICKY PRYCE, SAYING: "The ECB has been absolutely instrumental in getting us where we are.

So with the ECB stopping, or at least reducing quite significantly, monetary stimulus that could tip the euro zone the other way.

So the ECB will be very very careful.

And it will not want to be seen as bringing about a real slow down or even recession." The slowdown many feared as coming in the bloc the last thing Greece wants.

Or its leaders - who've based their pledges on a bumper budget surplus target which - just as wages have done since 2009 - could soon shrink.

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