[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Tuesday, 21 June, 2005, 16:34 GMT 17:34 UK
Greek unions call general strike
Greek workers protesting in support of the ongoing bank strike
Bank workers are already on strike
A three-week bank strike in Greece will this Friday expand into a 24-hour general walkout, as workers protest at planned pension and labour reforms.

The government says it will push ahead with the reforms, which will include a pensions overhaul and the introduction of short-term civil service contracts.

The unions say pension payouts will drop by half, the retirement age will rise and jobs will be lost.

The dispute is expected to affect flights in and out of the country.

Over the last three weeks, long queues have formed at the country's banks.

Friday's general strike is being organised by the main Greek union - the General Confederation for Greek Workers (GSEE) - in association with the largest bank union, OTOE.

'Exhausted dialogue'

The 15-month-old conservative government of Prime Minister Costas Caramanlis said it would continue with its reform plans, despite the planned 24-hour walkout.

Man at cash machine in Athens
People have had to queue for cash machines

Draft legislation to reform bank workers' pensions is already being reviewed in the Greek parliament.

The government plans to introduce changes to public-sector contracts and to remove employees' permanent-job status in the giant public sector.

"The government exhausted all limits of dialogue and we heard the views of bankers and the employees," said Finance Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis.

"We drafted legislation that is balanced - without adopting the views expressed by either side."

OTOE leader Dimitris Tsoukalas said his members were "determined to continue our protest, no matter what".

Greece last saw a 24-hour general strike back in March amid fears of rising unemployment and inflation.

Greece fully ratifies EU treaty
12 May 05 |  Europe
Go-ahead for Balkan oil pipeline
12 Apr 05 |  Business
Country profile: Greece
01 May 05 |  Country profiles
Timeline: Greece
01 May 05 |  Country profiles

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific