Greek Protesters Walk Out, Demand Wage, Pension Hikes

Students wave flags during a protest in central Athens, on Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2018. Civil servants in Greece have walked off the job in a 24-hour strike to protest austerity measures and are demanding wage and pension increases as well as the abolition of all legislation imposed as part of the country's international bailouts. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

Thousands of protests and strikes against more than 8 ½ years of austerity haven’t worked but Greek demonstrators took to the streets of Athens and Thessaloniki during a 24-hour strike Nov. 14 to demand wage hikes and increases to pensions repeatedly slashed by successive governments.

The action was called by the civil servants’ union ADEDY which has sponsored numerous similar protests, all of which have failed and with strikes limited to 24 hours or sometimes only a few hours without affecting the politicians who make the decisions.

The union’s demands also include the abolition of the so-called Katrougalos Llaw overhauling the Greek pension system and of the ENFIA property tax surcharge that Prime Minister and Radical Left SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras said he would end but continued and then hiked.

The strike was “The beginning of an escalation in the fight against memorandum policies,” organizers said with no explanation why that hasn’t happened since 2010. Successive governments, including the coalition led by Tsipras which includes the pro-austerity, marginal, jingostic Independent Greeks (ANEL), have hammered workers, pensioners and the poor with big pay cuts, tax hikes, slashed pensions, and worker firings, exempting Parliament workers, while politicians, the rich and tax cheats have largely escaped with impunity.

While most civil servants have suffered a range of pay cuts, Finance Ministry workers and managers were recently given raises.

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