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New pay cuts trigger transport strikes in Greece

February 20. 2013 3:07AM
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(AP) Striking subway workers in Athens defied a court order to return to work and continued their protest for a sixth day, as protests against new pay cuts escalated in Greece's capital.

A union representing workers at the Athens Metro continued their strike Tuesday, a day after a court declared their protest illegal. The court ruling would allow the government to activate emergency powers to force the strikers back to work.

Workers at the state-run city bus, trolley-bus and tram systems were also planning work stoppages Tuesday, that will likely cause extensive traffic problems around the city during the morning rush hour.

The government in cash-strapped Greece has imposed a new round of salary cuts by broadening pay scales in the public sector.

New austerity measures were approved by parliament last month and were needed for Greece to continue receiving money from bailout funds worth a total of 240 billion ($320 billion).

Late Monday, eurozone finance ministers meeting in Brussels backed the payout to Greece of a loan installment worth 9.2 billion ($12.3 billion), with most of that money earmarked for recapitalizing the banks. The decision has to be formally approved by the board of the bailout fund, known as the European Financial Stability Facility.

Associated Press

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