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Greece's public services come to a halt as unions strike

Schools, hospitals, public transport and flights disrupted as two of Greece’s largest unions stage 24-hour protest.

Thousands of protesters take part in a rally outside the Greek state television ERT headquarters during a 24-hour general strike in Athens today.
Thousands of protesters take part in a rally outside the Greek state television ERT headquarters during a 24-hour general strike in Athens today.
Image: AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris

A 24-HOUR general strike is taking place in Greece today following the closure of the state-run TV station ERT. The protest by two of the country’s main unions will see most public-sector services being disrupted.

The strike follows the surprise move to shut down the state broadcaster with the loss of 2,700 jobs. The journalists who have had their jobs immediately terminated are staging a sit-in at the televisions offices, while journalists across all media are on an indefinite strike. The government says the station was a huge drain on public resources. Conservative prime minister Antonis Samaras said that the station will be re-launched, but will be a slimmed down version of what existed before.

Public services in disarray

The BBC reports that marches are underway in Athens and that the strike will effect government offices, schools, hospitals and public transport. Air traffic controllers are due to stage a two-hour walk-out which will cause flight delays to and from Greece.

The unions on strike represent 2.5 million workers, according to Aljazeera, who state that the TV station closure has angered the Greek Government’s coalition partners.

Part of the terms of Greece’s EU-IMF lending package require it to lay off 15,000 public staff in the next year-and-a-half. 2,000 of those jobs are to be cut by Christmas.

Read: RTÉ’s equivalent in Greece is shut down to cut public spending>

Read: Irish journalists plan protest over shutdown of Greek broadcaster>

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