Greece's largest unions were planning protests and a work stoppage Wednesday, as the crisis-hit country's coalition government presses ahead with wage cuts and other austerity measures.
The stoppage planned for 12 noon to 3 p.m. local time Wednesday is set to disrupt services at tax offices and other public agencies, while a central Athens protest is planned for 6 p.m., as unions in Greece join Europe-wide anti-austerity protests.
Late Tuesday, parliament approved new cuts in public sector pensions and government spending required to secure a second package of international rescue loans, while the Cabinet formally imposed deep cuts to the minimum wage, retroactively to Feb. 14.
Doctors at public hospitals and some private practices are also on a 24-hour strike to protest health care spending cuts, while striking local government workers are planning four-hour occupations at town halls across Greece.
"The workers in our country will continue step up their (protest) action and in Greece and in Europe so we can finally put a stop to this steamrolling of society," the country's largest union, the GSEE, said in a statement.
Unemployment in Greece has roughly doubled since the start of the financial crisis, reaching 21 per cent after more than two years of punishing austerity measures.
But the country is still running high annual deficits and is obliged to adopt a new series of cuts before it can receive any funds from a new €130 billion ($174 billion) package of rescue loans from other eurozone countries and the International Monetary Fund.
As part of measures approved Tuesday, a 22 per cent cut has been imposed on the minimum wage, which currently stands at €751 ($1,010) per month for private sector workers. For workers under the age of 25, the minimum wage has been cut by 32 per cent.
Later Wednesday, lawmakers are set to vote on a new round of austerity implementation measures, that will merge debt-strapped supplementary pension funds.