Unions will be leading a protest in central Athens Wednesday against demands by international creditors to dismiss 25,000 public sector workers.
The massive firings are being demanded by the IMF-EU-ECB ‘Troika’ in return for the final 2.8 billion euros tranche of an international loan to Greece due in the first quarter of this year.
”The Troika’s insistence on the dismissal of 25,000 public sector employees by the end of this year and the passive position of the Greek government will lead to a further reduction of public services and that will have enormous negative economic and social consequences for Greek society’, said the Adedy union in a statement.
”The governments of the Memorandum, after ransacking salaries and pensions and bringing unemployment to record levels, after destroying welfare agencies and workers’ rights and reducing Greek society to poverty, are now promoting a privatization plan and a further cut of public services, the commercialization of welfare and massive lay-offs of state employees”, it added.
The punishing austerity programme demanded by international creditors and their sponsors in Brussels, Frankfurt and Washington have smashed the Greek economy, which is now in its sixth year of recession, with unemployment at 26%, the highest, along with Spain, in the European union.
The public sector has been slashed by 75,000 people over the past one and a half years and Athens has committed to cut a further 150,000 posts by 2015.
Greece, a nation of around 11 million people, already has one of the lowest rates of public employment among developed (OECD) countries, with general government employing 8% of the labour force compared to an average of 15% for OECD countries, and some countries have rates as high as 29%.