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Greek Workers Embark on Weekend Strike Over Austerity Measures

  • VOA News

A man walks behind a locked passengers entrance of Athens' port of Piraeus which is on strike, May 6, 2016.

A man walks behind a locked passengers entrance of Athens' port of Piraeus which is on strike, May 6, 2016.

Workers in Greece walked off their jobs Friday in protest of new tax and pension reforms being considered by the government that workers say will cut deeply into their incomes. The government's austerity measures are part of a multi-billion-dollar international bailout agreement.

The 48-hour protest came at the behest of the country’s largest public and private sector labor unions, and has shut down various services, including ferries to the island nation, garbage collection and government offices.

Greece’s parliament is set to vote on a bill to overhaul the country’s pension system Sunday night, and the protest was timed to coincide with the vote.

If the law is passed, Greece will raise its social security contribution requirements, increase the income tax on high-wage earners and set up a new national pension.

The new austerity measures are aimed at persuading international creditors to release additional bailout money.

Greece is still waiting to cash in on more than $4 billion of sorely-needed bailout cash that is being held back by creditors after the pace of the country’s reforms led to a breakdown of talks.

The protest will culminate with a demonstration in central Athens Sunday.

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