Greek civil servants walked off their jobs Wednesday at the start of a two-day nationwide strike protesting planned job cuts required as part of the country’s international bailout.
The strike affected all public services across Greece. Schools and courts will remain closed, while hospitals will be functioning with reduced staff. Trains were to stop running for four hours, and journalists joined in with a three-hour work stoppage, pulling news broadcasts off the air until noon.
The walkouts are the first widespread strike action after the summer and aim to put pressure on the coalition government to repeal unpopular austerity measures. Officials have vowed not to back down.
Government plans call for the suspension on partial pay of 25,000 civil servants this year in a drive to reduce the size of the public sector and meet conditions to continue receiving rescue loans. Many of those suspended are expected to eventually lose their jobs.
The two-day strike comes during a week of a series of strikes in various sectors. High school teachers have embarked on rolling five-day strikes, while state hospital doctors walked off the job for three days from Tuesday.