Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large

Greece on verge of general strike

A general strike in Greece is imminent after parliament approves a bill on the reform of the private-sector pension system, raising the retirement age from 60 to 65.

A general strike in Greece is imminent after deputies approved a bill on the reform of the private-sector pension system, voting to raise the retirement age from 60 to 65. Socialist deputies and two independents late yesterday backed the measure, considered a key plank of the government's programme adopted in May to pull the country out of its financial crisis. The move was opposed by right-wing and far-left parties, including the communists. The new measure also requires 40 years of payments into the pension fund instead of 37 years previously. After yesterday's vote in principle, the bill was to be debated article by article before a second vote on the entire package late today, parliament's speaker Philippos Petsalnikos said. The prime minister George Papandreou stressed the importance of the measure, arguing it was vital for the viability of the current pensions system and to ensuring its future. A second bill proposing the same retirement age for public sector workers has been scheduled for a parliamentary vote next week, finance minister George Papaconstantinou told a parliamentary committee earlier yesterday. Both public and private-sector unions have denounced the plans, and have called a general strike and protests for today. Dozens of flights through Greece will be disrupted by the strike that will also paralyse other forms of transport and public services, officials said. Greece's main flight operators Olympic Air and Aegean will ground 34 flights and reschedule another 45, including to several international destinations, the companies said. A four-hour work stoppage from 7am GMT by air traffic controllers will also affect other carriers. "Nothing will fly during that four-hour period," a spokeswoman at Athens International Airport said. Ports will be closed, trains will be halted and urban transport in Athens will come to a standstill from the labour mobilisation which will also shut down banks, post offices and public services. Hospitals will operate solely for emergencies and no news broadcasts will be made as journalists have joined the action. The strike is the sixth this year against a broad austerity policy imposed by the Socialist government as it struggles to deal with a debt crisis that pushed the country to the brink of insolvency in May. The pensions reform was one of the measures required by the eurozone countries and the International Monetary Fund in return for the 110-billion-euro rescue package for Greece that was agreed in May. * AFP

Back to the top

More articles

Editor's Picks

 Iranian President Hassan Rouhani greets supporters after his arrival in Zahedan, the regional capital of Sistan and Baluchestan province on Tuesday, April 15, 2014. During Mr Rouhani's two-day visit, he will tour several other cities and hold meetings with local scholars and entrepreneurs. Maryam Rahmanian for The National

On the road with Hassan Rouhani

Iran's president is touring some of Iran's most underdeveloped provinces. Foreign correspondent Yeganeh Salehi is traveling with him.

 The Doha-based Youssef Al Qaradawi speaks to the crowd as he leads Friday prayers in Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt in February, 2011. The outspoken pro-Muslim Brotherhood imam has been critical of the UAE’s policies toward Islamist groups, adding to friction between Qatar and other GCC states. Khalil Hamra / AP Photo

Brotherhood imam skips Doha sermon, but more needed for GCC to reconcile

That Youssef Al Qaradawi did not speak raises hopes that the spat involving Qatar and the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain might be slowly moving towards a resolution.

 Twitter photo of  Abdel Fattah El Sisi on the campaign trail on March 30. Photo courtesy-Twitter/@SisiCampaign

El Sisi rides a bicycle, kicks off social media storm

The photos and video created a huge buzz across social media networks, possibly a marker of a new era for Egypt.

 An Afghan election commission worker carries a ballot box at a vote counting centre in Jalalabad on April 6. A roadside bomb hit a truck carrying full ballot boxes in northern Afghanistan, killing three people a day after the country voted for a successor to President Hamid Karzai. Eight boxes of votes were destroyed in the blast, which came as the three leading candidates voiced concerns about possible fraud. Noorullah Shirzada / AFP Photo

Two pressing questions for Afghanistan’s future president

Once in office, the next Afghan president must move fast to address important questions that will decide the immediate future of the country.

 Friday is UN Mine Awareness Day and Omer Hassan, who does demining work in Iraqi Kurdistan, is doing all he can to teach people about the dangers posed by landmines. Louise Redvers for The National

A landmine nearly ended Omer’s life but he now works to end the threat of mines in Iraq

Omer Hassan does demining work in Iraqi Kurdistan and only has to show people his mangled leg to underscore the danger of mines. With the world marking UN Mine Awareness Day on Friday, his work is as important as ever as Iraq is one of the most mine-affected countries in the world.

 Supporters of Turkey's ruling AKP cheer as they follow the election's results in front of the party's headquarters in Ankara on March 30. Adem Altan/ AFP Photo

Erdogan critic fears retaliation if he returns to Turkey

Emre Uslu is a staunch critic of Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Now, with a mass crackdown on opposition expected, he is unsure when he can return home.


To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National