Initial approval given for more Greek austerity

A GENERAL strike failed to dissuade Greece’s socialist party from voting through new austerity measures last night, though more votes are required today to make the bill law.

Around 100,000 protestors and strikers (pictured, left) gathered to oppose the measures.

However, all 154 of the ruling socialist PASOK party’s deputies voted in favour of the bill – a majority of the 300 members of parliament. The general strike turned violent yesterday, as protesters clashed with police and burned piles of uncollected rubbish.

Protests are continuing today as deputies vote on the austerity measures article-by-article, and then on the whole package.

If the measures are not voted through, the next €8bn tranche of aid from the EU and International Monetary Fund will not be received. If that does happen the government will run out of money by the middle of next month.

The government needs to be able to fund its debts to avoid triggering a default, which could have enormous ramifications for banks and investors who are exposed to the bonds.

The controversial bill includes further measures to cut public sector wages and employment levels. Pensions will also be cut back, as will wage bargaining rights.