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Greece

Greek public sector workers take to the streets over layoffs

Thousands of public sector workers have gone on strike again in Greece to protest the planned mass dismissal of civil servants this year and in 2014. The marchers said the government was firing them indiscriminately.

Greek public sector workers resumed their strike action on Tuesday as many schools remained shut and hospitals were left with skeleton staff only.

The protesters voiced their anger over a government plan to fire 15,000 civil servants by the end of 2014, with 4,000 of them already having to go in the course of this year. The harsh measure was foisted upon Athens by international creditors who had kept the debt-stricken southern European nation afloat with bailout tranches totaling more than 240 billion euros ($323.8 billion).

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The government dubbed the huge dismissal plan a "mobility scheme", meaning that workers would have to find work in other departments within eight months or be laid off.

Media attention

Tuesday's 48-hour walkout had been called by the public sector umbrella union ADEDY, which called the planned layoffs the most merciless scheme to eliminate workers' rights in the country.

Journalists also joined the strike action in a sign of solidarity with public sector workers. During the walkout, public radio and television programs exclusively dealt with the street protests.

The strike took place as inspectors from Greece's foreign lenders checked whether the country qualified for yet another installment of rescue money. Auditors will have to determine the size of a third bailout, with the current review expected to continue until the end of October.

hg/msh (dpa, Reuters, AP)

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