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Public sector strikes grip Greece
September 17, 2013, 9:44 pm

Angry protesters afraid of losing their jobs gather outside Parliament in Athens [Xinhua]

Angry protesters afraid of losing their jobs gather outside Parliament in Athens [Xinhua]

Thousands of Greeks took to the streets again Tuesday to protest a set of austerity measures many in the country say are controversial and will further disenfranchise the already hard-hit public sector.

On Monday, Greek legislators approved a redeployment regimen as required by its International Monetary Fund (IMF) creditors bailing out the cash-starved government facing its sixth recession year.

Under the bailout requirements, the government must “redeploy” 12.500 public sector and civil servant employees by the end of September in order to qualify for loans from the IMF and EU.

Another 12,500 will be redeployed by the end of 2013, and at least 4,000 civil servants will be sacked in a bid to restructure the public sector.

The redeployment regimen is risky as it offers no assurances that everyone will be placed in different jobs. Most of the 12,5000 are likely to end up at home receiving reduced pay or eventually laid of altogether.

Doctors on Tuesday joined in the week-long strike when school teachers and university professors walked off their jobs and marched in several Greek cities and towns. Social security staff, lawyers, nurses and wardens have also joined in the protests.

Many expect that state ministries will also be affected by the redeployment.

The Greek economy began to unravel in 2009 when the government announced it could not meet its huge debt due to massive overspending.

Its budget deficit began to surge shortly after government financed the 2004 Athens Olympics.

The debt crisis was further exacerbated when the global economic crisis hit and the government feared defaulting on its loans. It had no choice but to seek help from the EU and the IMF.

Although the EU and IMF agreed to a total of over $300 billion in bailout loans, they demanded that the Greek government take severe measures to cut spending.

Source: Agencies