World

Greek workers protest austerity measures

Greek public transit workers and taxi drivers launched a 24-hour strike Thursday to protest fresh austerity measures, including cuts to some pensions and tax increases
Protesters with the Greek Communist-affiliated trade union PAME shout slogans in front of the parliament during a rally against the government's plans for new austerity measures in Athens on Wednesday. (John Kolesidis/Reuters )

Greek public transit workers and taxi drivers launched a 24-hour strike Thursday to protest fresh austerity measures, including cuts to some pensions and tax increases.

Trains, trams, buses, subway systems and taxis were all shut down as workers took part in a 24-hour strike, the latest in a long string of protests against austerity measures.

Teachers were also on strike Thursday and municipal workers planned a four-hour work stoppage.

Air traffic controllers were scheduled to walk off the job for three hours later in the day, forcing airlines to cancel and reschedule flights.

The protest comes a day after Greeks were hit with another round of tax hikes and pension cuts as part of the government's scramble to keep international bailout payments flowing and soothe global market fears that Greece will default.

Greece announced a series of new money-saving measures on Wednesday, including a plan to increase the number of civil servants to be suspended on partial pay to 30,000 from 20,000.

The new plan would also cut some pension payments and extend a property tax hike, Greek politicians said.

"We have to take supplementary measures … because of the recession, because of the difficult task, and the weakness of the central administration have not produced the required results," Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos said Wednesday.

The two biggest labour unions in Greece have said they will launch 24-hour strikes on Oct. 5 and Oct. 19 to protest the cuts.

Together, the two major unions represent about half the country's total workforce, Reuters reported.

With files from The Associated Press

now