Greek dockworkers are taking part in a 48-hour general strike and nationwide protests as Parliament debates budget cuts, tax hikes and asset sales to prevent the near bankrupt country defaulting on its sovereign debt.
Air traffic controllers, truckers, seafarers, shipyard workers, rail workers and public sector employees have also walked off the job in the fourth general strike this year that began at midnight.
Lawmakers are due to vote June 29 on the Socialist government’s five-year package of spending cuts, tax increases and privatization of public assets, including the nation’s top ports.
Parliament must approve the package to enable Greece to tap the final $17 billion tranche of a $158 billion European Union bailout in 2010 and pave the way for fresh loans to keep its shrinking economy afloat.
Failure to pass the emergency budget could trigger the eurozone’s first sovereign default, spreading contagion across the 17-nation currency area and the global banking system.
Dockworkers are threatening a summer long campaign of industrial action if the government proceeds with plans sell the state’s 75 percent stakes in the ports of Piraeus and Thessaloniki by the end of the year.
-- Contact Bruce Barnard at email@example.com.