Greek workers say “no” to cuts

With all major contenders in the UK elections promising cuts – but not saying exactly what or how big – will taking to the streets be trend? The Socialist Labour Party thinks Greece is “a test case”.
GREECE
Greece is becoming a test case for how successfully austerity measures can be loaded onto the backs of the working class.
The recent IMF and European Central Bank (ECB) loan to the Greek government totalling 110bn euros, up from an initial estimate of 37bn euros, is dependent on ensuring workers pay for an economic crisis not of their making.
Greek Finance Minister Yiorghos Papakonstantinou stated that instalments of the loan will be made every three months over a period of three years, dependent on the terms of the loan being met.
So what are the terms of this IMF/ECB loan?
A further three per cent wage cut for all workers in the electricity, water, telecommunication and gas industries, this follows last month’s cut of 7%.per cent.
A three year wage freeze for all other workers; a further rise in VAT of two per cent making it 23 per cent; a ten per cent tax on petrol; cuts in public spending, though these were not detailed; the privatisation of the Greek railways; some disability pensions to be scrapped; women to now work as long as men before retirement (the last round of attacks, barely weeks ago, had already raised the retirement age by two more years). Furthermore a Pensions Bill is expected to be introduced by the Greek government shortly which will end the state pension completely.
According to the public sector trades unions federation workers income will be reduced by 35%, the minimum wage and collective bargaining will end and unemployment will reach 20% by the end of this year. The Union claimed “Society is becoming a volcano”
Commenting on the IMF/ECB bailout the Guardian newspaper stated “It is also clear that the bailout orchestrated by the IMF, the European commission and the European Central Bank will merely be a short-term fix unless it can help get Greece moving again. If it can’t, it will be worse than useless”
After outlining the reasons why this bailout will fail the Guardian report ended with the warning “That is not a recovery plan. It is an economic death spiral.”
The situation in Greece is set to escalate to Portugal, Spain and Ireland, with the US and UK by no means exempt in the near future.
The Greek public sector trade unions have called a general strike for 4th and 5th of May.
A link to a short video report from the Guardian is below.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/video/2010/may/04/greece-protests-video

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