Greek public sector workers hold 24-hour strike

School teachers demonstrate with their hands tied with chains during a protest in the northern Greek port of Thessaloniki (9 July 2014) Protesters say that it is poorer people - cleaners, school guards and teachers - who have been worst affected by the austerity measures

Related Stories

Public sector workers in Greece are holding a 24-hour strike to protest against continuing cuts in government spending.

Hospitals, tax offices, prisons and archaeological sites have been disrupted by the action.

The workers are protesting against austerity measures, including a 40% reduction to salaries and pensions.

The strike coincides with a visit from Greece's international creditors to check on the country's progress.

The BBC's Mark Lowen in Athens says that workers marched through the capital carrying banners and slogans hitting out at cuts and taxes that continue to cause so much anger.

Public sector workers during a protest march in Athens (9 July 2014) The pain of austerity is still deeply felt in Greece, where salaries and pensions are down by 40%
Banners against layoffs lay on the road prior to the protest march in Athens (9 July 2014) Although Greece's economy is now close to growing again, there is still considerable public anger over high unemployment, which remains at near-record highs
A demonstrator holds up a union flag and a banner during a protest in the northern Greek port of Thessaloniki (9 July 2014) The protests took place all over the country, including the northern port of Thessaloniki

One of the demonstrators, secondary school teachers' union President Themis Kotsifakis said Greece was being brought to its knees by the cuts imposed at the behest of the government, the EU and the International Monetary Fund.

"They are destroying the country's public services," he said. "They are firing teachers, school guards, cleaners and other state workers - this policy must be stopped or it will negatively affect all of society."

Our correspondent says that while the violence of past demonstrations is gone - the pain of austerity is still deeply felt in Greece, where more privatisations are in the offing and one in four Greeks is without a job.

The government insists that there is no alternative to its austerity path - which is bearing fruit. The deficit has been wiped out except for interest on the bailout and six years of recession are now due to end.

But Greece is still the Eurozone's problem child, our correspondent says, with debt remaining unsustainably high alongside a wide hole in next year's budget - which international lenders are in Athens to discuss.

Finance Minister Gikas Hardouvelis on Wednesday promised the pace of reform would not be reduced and a large-scale privatisation programme would be accelerated.

"[The year] 2014 is expected to be the first year in which the economy will show positive growth rates," he told a news conference south of Athens. "But that does not excuse any relaxation."

More on This Story

More Business stories

RSS

BBC Business Live

  1.  
    Via Twitter Adam Parsons Business Correspondent

    tweets: "Diego Hernández to become Chief Executive Officer of FTSE100 miner Antofagasta"

     
  2.  
    HEINEKEN RESULTS 07:35:
    beer

    Heineken beat analysts' forecasts for its first-half results, although along with Carlsberg it said it sold less in Russia. The Central and Eastern Europe business was hit by bad weather and floods. Operating profit before one-off items rose 9.6% in the first six months of the year to 1.45bn euros ($1.93bn; £1.16bn),

     
  3.  
    CARLSBERG RESULTS 07:23:
    beer

    Danish brewer Carlsberg has said annual profits will drop because of western relations with Russia. The country generates 35% of operating profit but Russia could enter recession this year. "The overall performance in the second quarter looks fine, but they are downgrading their guidance due to the macroeconomic uncertainty in the Eastern European region. So it is a mixed bag," analyst Morten Imsgard from Sydbank said.

     
  4.  
    BALFOUR BEATTY 07:18:

    Balfour Balfour said it rejected Carillion's latest offer because it failed to address "two key concerns". It said there were "considerable risks" associated with the proposed business plan. It also objected to Carillion's intention to halt the planned sale of Balfour's Parsons Brinckerhoff business in the US, "at a point when it is reaching a successful conclusion".

     
  5.  
    BALFOUR BEATTY 07:08:
    Balfour Beatty worker

    Balfour Beatty has rejected the latest takeover bid from rival Carillion. The offer was sweetened on Tuesday for the third time, valuing Balfour at more than £2bn. But Balfour said the proposal was "not in the best interests" of its shareholders.

     
  6.  
    BHP BILLITON 06:57: BBC Radio 4
    BHP Billiton logo

    On Tuesday, mining giant BHP Billiton announced plans to spin-off billions of dollars worth of assets into a new company. Elaine Coverley, head of equity research at Brewin Dolphin, told the Today programme that it's a sign that shareholders in the sector are demanding more discipline from management and seeking better dividends.

     
  7.  
    STANDARD CHARTERED 06:44: Radio 5 live
    Standard Chartered

    Elaine Coverley, head of equity research at Brewin Dolphin is on Wake Up to Money, this time talking about Standard Chartered. Standard Chartered has agreed to pay $300m (£180m) to New York's top banking regulator for failing to improve its money laundering controls. "It's a blow," she says. "In the past the management were very well respected."

     
  8.  
    JAPAN EXPORTS 06:31:
    Tokyo port

    Japan's exports grew in July for the first time in three months, figures have shown. Exports were up 3.9% from a year ago thanks to higher shipments of cars and electric machinery. However, imports rose by 2.3%, largely due to purchases of oil and gas. This meant the trade deficit came in at a larger-than-expected 964.0bn yen ($9.4bn; £5.6bn) for the month.

     
  9.  
    BALFOUR MERGER 06:16: Radio 5 live

    Elaine Coverley, head of equity research at Brewin Dolphin is on Wake Up to Money. Carillion is back with improved terms to buy Balfour Beatty. "It is getting more hostile," she says. Balfour Beatty shareholders "need to petition the board to look at this offer much more closely", she says.

     
  10.  
    INTEREST RATES 06:10: Radio 5 live
    Bank of England

    A rise in interest rates is "long overdue", economist Peter Warburton tells Wake Up to Money. The minutes from August's meeting of the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee are out later and could show some members favoured a rate rise. Mr Warburton thinks several economic indicators suggest rates should already have gone up.

     
  11.  
    PALLADIUM PRICES 06:02: Radio 5 live

    Jim Slade, a director of European Exhaust & Catalyst, is on Wake Up to Money talking about palladium, which is used in catalytic converters. The price of palladium has risen by 25% this year. "There's a lot of debate about Russia and whether they have a huge stockpile or whether it's depleted," he says.

     
  12.  
    06:00: Nick Edser, Business reporter

    Good morning. You can email us at bizlivepage@bbc.co.uk and tweet us at @bbcbusiness.

     
  13.  
    06:00: Howard Mustoe Business reporter

    Hello. Today we can look forward to minutes from the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee, plus company results and analysis. Stay tuned.

     

Features

  • OrangemanPunctured pride?

    How would N Ireland's Orangemen feel if Scotland left the union?


  • Sheep on Achill IslandMass exodus

    Why hundreds of thousands of people have left Ireland


  • MarchionessThames tragedy

    Survivors and victims' families remember Marchioness disaster


  • A teenaged mother in the Zaatari campUntold misery

    The plight of Syria's refugee child brides


BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.