General strike in Greece on May 11

April 19, 2011

, ATHENS, Apr 19 – A general strike will be held in Greece on May 11 against the government\’s austerity measures after a leading union joined on Tuesday a previously declared labour mobilisation.

The Adedy union that represents civil servants said it was joining a strike announced Monday by GSEE, the country\’s main worker group that defends private sector staff.

European trade unions from the ETUC will also be gathering in Athens next month for a congress on May 16-19.

The general strike is the second this year held against unprecedented cuts imposed by the Socialist government in its efforts to reduce a gaping deficit and a soaring debt that nearly bankrupted the country last year.

The government of George Papandreou last week unveiled a 26-billion-euro ($38-billion) package of measures by 2015 to bring the country\’s soaring deficit to within one percentage point of output.

A fresh round of cuts is being primed for the country\’s wasteful public sector whose financial drain on the state built up huge deficits for years.

The new package is designed to convince sceptical investors to extend Greece fresh loans in 2012 when the recession-hit country is scheduled to return to markets under the terms of its recent rescue by the EU and IMF.

But critics in the opposition and even in Papandreou\’s own party note that major austerity sacrifices made last year failed to meet targets because the recession got even deeper.

Hundreds of thousands of Greeks have lost their jobs or suffered wage and pension cuts under measures already enacted by the government.

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