Greek coalition partners focus on growth after aid tranche release, workers continue protestsSouce:Xinhua Publish By Thomas Whittle Updated 19/12/2012 8:53 am in World / no comments
ATHENS, Dec. 18 — Greek coalition government partners focus on stimulating growth after the release of the new tranche of international aid to Athens this week in order to stave off default and exit the financial crisis, as workers continued anti-austerity protests on Tuesday.
The swift implementation of structural reforms to boost development and reverse recession is the next primary goal on the agenda of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and the leaders of the two centre-Left parties participating in the government who were due to meet on Tuesday evening, according to officials and media reports.
During a meeting on Monday with representatives of leading multinational companies operating in Greece, including Cosco, Samaras stressed the government’s determination to move forward with reforms and called on them to boost their presence in the country and create jobs, government sources said.
Following the disbursement of the 34.4 billion euro (45.3 billion U.S. dollars) tranche of rescue loans to cover immediate financing needs and the recapitalization of the banking sector, the government turns to the next tasks need to be fulfilled in coming months to ensure the release of more aid from European Union and International Monetary Fund lenders.
As the country heads for a sixth year in recession, with decades record high unemployment rates after two years of harsh austerity policies to counter the crisis, and further salary cuts and tax hikes ahead, strikes and protests by trade unions are stepped up shortly before the Christmas holidays lull.
Municipal workers, personnel at public hospitals and universities, pharmacists and bank employees launched a new round of separate protest rallies and strikes ahead of fresh 24-hour strike organized by the main union of civil servants ADEDY for Wednesday.
In protest of additional spending cuts, a labor reserve scheme to reduce the number of civil servants and a new tax bill aiming to slash deficits, the umbrella union of private sector workers GSEE will join the mobilization with a work stoppage.
On Tuesday strikers held a sit in protest against the labor reserve plan at the Ministry of Shipping in Athens, as garbage was piling up across the city due to the six-day protest action of municipal employees.
On Wednesday hospitals will run on skeleton staff, while public transport will come to a standstill in Athens until Friday, as mass transit services personnel will participate in the new wave of anti-austerity mobilizations.