Arab Today, arab today media strike in greece ahead of labour walkout
Last Updated : GMT 19:38:48
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Media strike in Greece ahead of labour walkout

Arab Today, arab today

Arab Today, arab today Media strike in Greece ahead of labour walkout

Athens - AFP

Greece was left without news coverage on Tuesday as journalists went on strike ahead of a two-day walkout by unions seeking to block an austerity bill that the government must pass to avert bankruptcy. Some 2,000 journalists protested in central Athens against layoffs as state data showed unemployment climbing to 16.5 percent and the government struggled to galvanise support for the crucial reform bill demanded by Greece\'s creditors. \"After two years of continued austerity, unemployment in the media sector is at 25 percent and the new bill is the killing blow,\" Dimitris Trimis, head of the Athens journalists union, told AFP. The government is expected to weather Thursday\'s vote. \"To give this battle under the best possible circumstances it is important to honour our commitments,\" Papandreou told his ministers on Monday. \"Among other things, this means parliament approving the bill,\" he said. Taking a lead from Germany, Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos tempered earlier optimism for an EU summit on the crisis on Sunday. \"We must not have great expectations,\" he said ahead of a meeting with President Carolos Papoulias. But he warned: \"If Europeans fail in Greece, they will not be able to shield themselves (either).\" Over a dozen state buildings including several ministries were under occupation by civil servants opposing additional salary and pension cuts imposed on top of previous sacrifices last year. Tax collectors, municipal staff, lawyers and many doctors also continued labour action launched on Monday against the government\'s attempted economic overhaul in the midst of a recession. And streets in the capital and in Thessaloniki were still covered with mounds of refuse owing to a two-week strike by garbage collectors. The civil servants union ADEDY on Tuesday asked the garbage collectors to clear streets where demonstrations are planned to coincide with the strike on Wednesday and Thursday to keep protesters from using the garbage to set fires. The two main Greek unions -- as well as air traffic controllers, meaning aviation havoc -- will be protesting new cuts demanded by the EU and IMF in return for the latest loans from a 110-billion-euro ($152-billion) rescue programme agreed last year. The embattled government was hit with three resignations this week ahead of the crunch vote in parliament, which Greece\'s creditors have made a condition for the release of bankruptcy-saving loans next month. Venizelos told parliament that the ministry\'s information systems chief had stepped down for \"personal reasons\", with reports linking the move to the state\'s protracted failure to stamp out fuel smuggling. The police ministry\'s general secretary also walked out, prompting a hurried reshuffle with the head of police replacing him, and a new chief appointed just two days ahead of the planned two-day general strike, which could spark street violence. And a ruling party lawmaker also resigned to avoid voting on the upcoming austerity bill that includes temporary layoffs for thousands of public sector staff, a new civil service salary system, and amendments to collective wage agreements. The government has repeatedly warned that failure to pass the legislation ahead of the European debt crisis summit on Sunday will prompt Greece\'s peers to block the release of loans and cause a payments freeze. The Greek state has enough money to pay its bills through mid-November. On Tuesday it raised 1.625 billion euros ($2.25 billion) in a sale of three-month treasury bills but had to offer a steeper interest of 4.61 percent.  

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