22 Sep 2011

Transport paralysis faces Greece as workers protest

6:46 pm on 22 September 2011

The transport system in Greece is facing 24 hours of paralysis as striking workers hold protests against austerity measures introduced to tackle the country's debt crisis.

There will be no public transport throughout the country on Thursday, the BBC reports. Air traffic controllers will not be working and public sector workers will take part in a mass protest.

The tough new austerity measures announced by the government are aimed at securing the continued backing of Greece's international creditors. They include extending property tax, cutting pensions and putting tens of thousands of public workers on notice.

The number of civil servants to be suspended on partial pay will be increased to 30,000 by the end of this year from 20,000. Monthly pensions above €1200 will be subject to a 20% cut of the amount above that threshold.

Greece has been dependent since last year on rescue loans from a bailout fund set up to prevent eurozone countries from defaulting.

The country was due to receive €8 billion in October, but International Monetary Fund and European authorities suspended a decision on signing off the aid as it was unclear that Greece was meeting the austerity conditions attached to the money.