Public services shut down across Greece Thursday as workers held the first general strike since the country’s left-led government initially came to power in January.
“Trade unions have called a nationwide strike on 12 November affecting schools, public transport and hospitals across Greece”, the FCO said. Pharmacists, doctors, teachers and bank employees will also walk off the job.
($92 billion) bailout, and fresh snap elections, further austerity measures are required to release much-needed funds to keep the Greek economy afloat. Athens’ metro is not running, bus and trolley routes have been considerably reduced and connections between Greece’s multiple islands and mainland has been almost brought to a halt as public ferries remain tied up in ports.
Unions, key supporters of Tsipras’ Syriza party, protested in the streets of Athens, bringing much of the city to a standstill.
The main party in the governing coalition – Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ left-wing Syriza – has shown sympathy for the strike.
Greece’s largest trade unions, ADEDY and GSEE, have made clear the aim of the 24-hour strike is to prevent enactment of austerity polices agreed to by Tsipras’ government during the summer.
A news black-out is expected as journalists participate, cancelling all news broadcasts and online news updates. “If I do not work, I don’t get paid”, said a 23-year-old server in downtown Athens. “They need to let us breathe”.
While Greece has met numerous requirements, it remains at odds with creditors over how to deal with non-performing loans and the repossession of homes whose owners have fallen into arrears on mortgage payments.
The Greek government is now in finance talks, negotiating two loans, a €2-billion installment and €10 billion needed for the recapitalization of the nation’s banks.