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Athens mayor attacked over job cuts tied to Greece bailout

 
 
 
 
 
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Athens Mayor Giorgos Kaminis

Greek staff unionists have physically assaulted Athens Mayor Giorgos Kaminis amid protests against job cuts tied to Greece’s bailout, officials say.

The mayor’s office said Kaminis was “physically attacked” on Sunday while he was leaving a Confederation of Greek Municipalities (KEDE) meeting, where he held discussions about the austerity measures and their affects on thousands of municipal employees.

Kaminis was checked into hospital where he was treated for minor injuries.

After leaving hospital, a statement was issued by the mayor’s office, who blamed the attack on the Panhellenic Federation of Employees in Municipalities (POE-OTA) union and its president, Themis Balasopoulos, and accused Balasopoulos of leading its members “down a dangerous road.”

In response, POE-OTA has condemned the assault, blaming provocateurs for the attack and saying it was “damaging for the just fight of local authority workers.”

The latest protests come as Greece is close to reaching a deal with its international lenders in hope to draw 8.1 billion euros (about $10.4 billion) in promised funding from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Greece agreed last week to transfer some 4,000 municipal officers to the police force, a cost-cutting move which unionists fear will lead to many layoffs.

Eurozone finance ministers are meeting in Brussels on Monday to decide whether Athens has applied enough reforms to get the new tranche of loans.

By the end of this year, some 25,000 civil servants overall must be redeployed and an additional 4,000 fired in order for the country to receive access to further payouts of its bailout rescue loans.

Greece was granted a 110 billion euro ($145 billion) bailout by the so-called troika of international lenders in May 2010.

Another 130 billion euro ($170 billion) rescue package was approved in February 2012.

The country has been at the epicenter of the eurozone debt crisis and is experiencing its fifth year of recession, while harsh austerity measures have left about half a million people without jobs.

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