Strikes over price hike paralyse Greece

by IANS |

Athens, Nov 10 (IANS) Thousands of protesters staged a 24-hour general strike in Athens and other major cities across Greece, calling on the government to cope with inflation.

The strikes on Wednesday, organised by the unions of Greece's public and private sectors, brought to a halt public services, such as schools, hospitals, and media, and also affected public transportation for hours, reports Xinhua news agency.

The participants asked for more support to cope with rising inflation which has decreased their purchasing power.

Official data showed the country's annual inflation in September reached 12 per cent.

"High prices are strangling households," read banners raised during the march in front of Parliament building.

"What is happening in our country today is beyond reason... We are suffering," a private sector employee told Xinhua .

"We are here today for us, for our children, our parents, our brothers, the entire society... No to social inequalities. Yes to workers," a civil servant, said before minor clashes broke out between a group of protesters and police.

No injuries have been reported.

Labour unions have requested drastic reductions in energy costs, deeming the state subsidies to date insufficient.

They also asked for price caps and lower taxes on basic goods, for households and businesses, as well as a substantial increase in wages and pensions.

Some 10 billion euros in state subsidies to households and businesses have been allocated within a year, according to the Finance Ministry.

The government had recently increased the minimum wage and promised a 7 per cent increase in pension next year.

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