Greek unions threaten more strikes against govt

Greek civil servants warned on Monday they could call more strikes if the Socialist government unveils tough austerity measures.

Greek unions threaten more strikes against govt

Greek civil servants warned on Monday they could call more strikes if the Socialist government unveils tough austerity measures.

The ADEDY public sector union already plans a 24-hour strike on Wednesday as Prime Minister George Papandreou puts the finishing touches to a deficit-cutting plan, endorsed by the European Commission to pull Greek finances back from the brink.

"We will strike on Wednesday to defend our dignity, to put an end to our sacrifices on the altar of financial markets. These are pointless sacrifices," ADEDY President Spyros Papaspyros told a news conference.

The government's emergency tax reform and wages bills are expected to be unveiled this week and become law by the end of the month, but details have angered Greece's powerful unions.

ADEDY said it would decide on Thursday after the government makes public the bills whether to call another strike in early March or join one on Feb. 24 by the GSEE private sector union. Together the two group half Greece's 5 million workers.

ADEDY demands salary increases for public sector workers, more job creation and an overhaul to make the tax system fairer.

Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou, who took part in an impromptu cabinet meeting on Monday to discuss the package, said the raft of reforms would involve lowering the top tax rate, as the government seeks to shield the poorest Greeks.

"The 40 percent tax rate will be applied on income levels that are lower than what is the case today, but there will also be intermediate rates that will provide relief for low and middle incomes," he told Ta Nea newspaper.

He said that as a result of the tax changes, the biggest burden would be felt by a small percentage of tax payers as 95 percent of earners report incomes below 30,000 euros a year.

European ministers told their counterparts at a weekend G7 meeting they would make sure Greece sticks to its budget-cutting plan, but the pledges failed to reassure currency markets and the euro lost more ground on Monday.

"We are making a huge effort to protect our economy from speculation and a lack of credibility, which have led to adverse borrowing terms," Papaconstantinou told the paper.


Reuters

The ADEDY public sector union already plans a 24-hour strike on Wednesday as Prime Minister George Papandreou puts the finishing touches to a deficit-cutting plan, endorsed by the European Commission to pull Greek finances back from the brink.

"We will strike on Wednesday to defend our dignity, to put an end to our sacrifices on the altar of financial markets. These are pointless sacrifices," ADEDY President Spyros Papaspyros told a news conference.

The government's emergency tax reform and wages bills are expected to be unveiled this week and become law by the end of the month, but details have angered Greece's powerful unions.

ADEDY said it would decide on Thursday after the government makes public the bills whether to call another strike in early March or join one on Feb. 24 by the GSEE private sector union. Together the two group half Greece's 5 million workers.

ADEDY demands salary increases for public sector workers, more job creation and an overhaul to make the tax system fairer.

Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou, who took part in an impromptu cabinet meeting on Monday to discuss the package, said the raft of reforms would involve lowering the top tax rate, as the government seeks to shield the poorest Greeks.

"The 40 percent tax rate will be applied on income levels that are lower than what is the case today, but there will also be intermediate rates that will provide relief for low and middle incomes," he told Ta Nea newspaper.

He said that as a result of the tax changes, the biggest burden would be felt by a small percentage of tax payers as 95 percent of earners report incomes below 30,000 euros a year.

European ministers told their counterparts at a weekend G7 meeting they would make sure Greece sticks to its budget-cutting plan, but the pledges failed to reassure currency markets and the euro lost more ground on Monday.

"We are making a huge effort to protect our economy from speculation and a lack of credibility, which have led to adverse borrowing terms," Papaconstantinou told the paper.


Reuters

Last Mod: 08 Şubat 2010, 16:22
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