New 48-hour strike in Greece over civil service cuts
Athens: Greek civil servants on Tuesday launched a 48-hour strike, their second work stoppage in as many weeks to protest job cuts the government is undertaking in return for international bailout funds.
The strike, which follows one last week, shut down government buildings and was expected to disrupt operations at public hospitals.
School and university teachers have been on strike since September 16.
Unions plan to hold a protest in Athens later in the day.
Under obligations taken in return for EU-IMF loans, Greece has pledged to axe 4,000 state jobs and redeploy 25,000 public sector workers by the end of the year.
Yesterday, two of Greece's top academic institutions, the university of Athens and the Athens Polytechnic, announced a shutdown in protest at the job cuts, and said they would seek to block the measure in court.
Today's strike was held as auditors from Greece's 'troika' of creditors -- the EU, IMF and European Central Bank -- conducting a scheduled inspection of progress on pledged structural reforms.
Greek fiscal performance and reforms will determine the release of a scheduled loan instalment of 1.0 billion euros (USD 1.4 billion) from the country's EU-IMF bailout.
Greece has received two EU-IMF aid packages worth 240 billion euros since 2010 in a bailout plan that will wind down next year.
But there is now widespread acceptance that it will need a third rescue package, with the country thought to be facing a financing shortfall of 10 billion euros (USD 13.5 billion).