News / Economy

Greece Approves Bill to Fire Thousands of Workers

  • Municipal public school guard Yiorgos Avramidi is comforted by colleagues after the Greek parliament approved new austerity measures, Athens, July 17, 2013.
  • Greek Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras, left, and Greek Prime minister Antonis Samaras, second left, are congratulated by lawmakers after a parliament vote in Athens, July 18, 2013.
  • Demonstrators sit on a broken metal fence outside the Greek parliament during an anti-austerity protest in Athens, late July 17, 2013.
  • Protesters take part in a demonstration against public sector layoffs, which the government has promised its international lenders in exchange for bailout funds, in Athens, July 15, 2013.
  • A protester sits on the road in front of the Greek Parliament during a protest in Athens, July 16, 2013.
  • A protester holds a banner featuring a man hanging from a Euro logo as he marches to the Greek Parliament during a protest in Athens, July 16, 2013. 
  • An anti-austerity protester holds a Greek flag during a rally in Athens, July, 16, 2013.

Greece Approves New Austerity Protests

VOA News
Germany's finance minister arrived in Greece hours after Greek lawmakers approved a round of  lay-offs and wage cuts affecting thousands of public workers.

Wolfgang Schaeuble, Europe's leading austerity proponent, arrived in Athens Thursday.  Many Greeks blame Schaeuble for  their woes since a debt crisis hit in 2009.

Parliament passed the sweeping reforms by a vote of 153 to 140.

The bill gives 25,000 public workers eight months to find other jobs or get laid off.

The passage of the reforms bill enables Greece to receive $8.9 billion in rescue aid from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund.

Debate on the reform package triggered a week of almost daily protest marches, rallies and strikes.

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