Greek Workers Unhappy With Austerity Measures Thousands of civil servants marched through the streets of Athens Wednesday — the latest sign of resistance to the Greek government's austerity program. The Socialist government blames its predecessors for the country's massive debts, and has launched a public inquiry to find out what went wrong.
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Greek Workers Unhappy With Austerity Measures

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Greek Workers Unhappy With Austerity Measures

Greek Workers Unhappy With Austerity Measures

Greek Workers Unhappy With Austerity Measures

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Thousands of civil servants marched through the streets of Athens Wednesday — the latest sign of resistance to the Greek government's austerity program. The Socialist government blames its predecessors for the country's massive debts, and has launched a public inquiry to find out what went wrong.

STEVE INSKEEP, Host:

NPR's business news starts with more trouble in Greece.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

INSKEEP: John Psaropoulos reports.

(SOUNDBITE OF CHANTING, DRUMS)

JOHN PSAROPOULOS: Greek workers are taking to the streets as they begin to feel the bite of new taxes on fuel, alcohol, and tobacco. They are worried that the government is about to raise the retirement age and lower benefits to pull back social security from bankruptcy. But it is government employees that are feeling especially unhappy. In addition to all of this, the one million employees of the public sector, a quarter of the national workforce, have already taken a roughly 5 percent pay cut, and that is expected to double next week.

YANNIS STOURNARAS: I think the Greek people believe that the measures are necessary.

PSAROPOULOS: Yannis Stournaras was the chief economic advisor to the socialist government that put Greece in the Euro zone in 2001.

STOURNARAS: This is a strike which is led by public sector unions. I think it is against the feeling of the average Greek, who sees the specter of bankruptcy and wants to avoid it. So I don't think that these strikes will continue.

PSAROPOULOS: For NPR News, I'm John Psaropoulos in Athens.

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