Euro hits three-year high against the dollar
Over to Greece now where workers are staging a mass walk-out in opposition to a proposed new wave of reforms and austerity measures. One of the most contentious measures would restrict the right to call industrial action.
Helena Smith reports from Athens:
In what is being billed the first major industrial action of the year, public and private sector workers have staged a walk-out. Transport workers, seamen, state doctors, bureaucrats and construction workers, have all voiced opposition to the measures demanded by international creditors if debt-stricken Greece is to complete its latest bailout compliance review.
The multi-bill, widely seen as the last one before Greece exits bailout supervision, contains some of the harshest reforms yet. Unions and labour groups are particularly incensed by a new law that will restrict the right to call strikes and is much the focus of today’s protests.
Leading members of prime minister Alexis Tsipras’ leftist Syriza party have also expressed vehement opposition. Tsipras has urged them to see the bigger picture, arguing the measures are a necessary evil if the country is to regain economic independence and return to capital markets to borrow funds required to refinance its staggering debt mountain.
Parliament is expected on 15 January to vote through the contentious bill. The government must legislate about 100 ‘prior actions’ if time-tables are to be kept and further rescue funds dispensed at the next EU leaders’ summit on 22 January.
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