Greek doctors, pharmacists go on strike

2012-01-02 12:00

Athens - Greek pharmacists and doctors on Monday kicked off a week of labour mobilisation against cost-cutting measures and liberalisation reforms pursued by the country's debt-struck government.

Most pharmacies nationwide were to shut until Tuesday in opposition to a state attempt to further reduce their profit margins to 15%, from 18% previously, in order to help sustain Greece's troubled social security funds.

State hospitals were only treating emergency cases until Thursday to pressure the government to abandon plans for additional wage cuts, which are part of ongoing salary reductions in the broader Greek public sector.

And the association of Greek doctors has also called its members to a nationwide walkout, barring emergencies, in protest against health sector spending cuts.

The Greek government is trying to limit overspending on social welfare, part of a general austerity drive ordered under pressure from the EU and International Monetary Fund after the country nearly went bankrupt in 2010.

Chaotic account-keeping has led to massive waste of state funds for decades.

Last year, labour ministry officials revealed that millions of euros annually had been spent on retirement payments to long-dead pensioners.

Last week, the government said health spending overall had skyrocketed to €10.6bn in 2009 and the goal was to reduce the sum to €7bnthis year.

"Failure to do so means that pensions would have to be cut by 12%," Labour Minister George Koutroumanis told a news conference.

Many retired Greeks have already sustained pension cuts in addition to income lost through price hikes, while civil servants have also had their monthly salaries slashed by hundreds of euros.

  • bernpm - 2012-01-02 12:49

    one way to control population growth

      John - 2012-01-02 20:47

      All rioters are to be transferred to Cyprus to riot against the Turkish occupation of Cyprus. Out Invader Turkey, Out! Out Occupier Turkey, Out!

  • Horst - 2012-01-02 13:14

    Just shows you, social welfare is like a cancer. Needs heavy chemo to get it under control.

  • Steward - 2012-01-02 14:36

    Why not just ditch the euro and control your own fate?

      Burtfred - 2012-01-02 14:51

      They wouldn't want to do that - it's much easier to live on handouts from the Germany, France, Holland, etc. Controlling their own fate would entail actually working, which is something that the Greeks are not famous for.

  • John - 2012-01-02 20:42

    All State and Government and para-government workers are to go back on 45 hour weeks. SAME PAY. While you are part of the Euro, if you can not devalue your currency, you must put in more work for the same currency. Malaka Helenos!

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