- Title: GREECE-STRIKE Greece paralysed by major strike, flights cancelled
- Date: 27th November 2014
- Summary: VARIOUS OF FLIGHT BOARD SHOWING ALL FLIGHTS CANCELLED
- Embargoed: 12th December 2014 12:00
- Location: Greece
- Country: Greece
- Topics: General
- Reuters ID: LVAETF6UNAK7I6UJKHNJ8EHP5CTA
- Story Text: Greek labour unions staged a 24-hour strike on Thursday (November 27) that cancelled flights, shut public offices and disrupted transport, in the first major industrial action to cripple the austerity-weary country in months.
Private sector union GSEE and its public sector counterpart ADEDY called the walkout to protest against planned layoffs and pension reform demanded by European Union and International Monetary Fund lenders who have bailed out Greece twice.
All Greek domestic and international flights were cancelled after air traffic controllers joined the strike. Buses, trains and ferries also halted services, causing traffic snarls in the capital.
"I hope this is doing somebody some good, it's not doing us any good, but I realise that there are some problems that need to be addressed and hopefully the politicians will address them," said stranded American tourist Reed Erskine.
Hospitals worked on emergency staff while tax and other local public offices remained shut.
It is the first major strike since April as protest actions once again pick up before a presidential vote in February which could lead to early elections.
Unions oppose plans for more austerity in 2015, after four years of reforms that have already reduced Greeks' standard of living, raised unemployment, and increased poverty.
The reforms were part of a 240 billion euro EU/IMF bailout programme.
"We should have left the bailout yesterday, it's a dead end, we must leave it. We are having a human crisis, we are sinking, we are bankrupt and they will not admit it," said unemployed protester, Nina Ventouri.
In a meeting in Paris on Wednesday (November 26) between Greek officials and the troika - representatives of the EU and IMF - the two sides failed to resolve differences over the 2015 budget.
The lenders say Athens faces a shortfall of over two billion euros next year unless it waters down a generous state arrears payback plan for austerity-hit Greeks or takes other measures.
Athens says it faces no such shortfall and last week submitted its plans for a near-balanced budget to parliament without approval from the inspectors.
The Greek government has imposed repeated rounds of austerity to ensure Greece continues to receive aid payments but is now trying to abandon the unpopular bailout programme in a bid to secure his government's survival through next year.
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