Entries in Austerity (8)


Greek Workers to Protest New Austerity Measures, Call for Strike

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(ATHENS, Greece) -- Workers in Greece have called for a strike.  
The country's two main unions, ADEDY and GSEE, covering civil servants and the private sector, respectively, have called for a two-day strike to begin on Nov. 6. The workers called the demonstration, which will take place in central Athens, in objection to new austerity measures worth $17.5 billion. Lawmakers are set to vote on the bill next week.

The decision to strike comes as lawmakers already have approved a bill allowing the privatization of public utilities in a vote that saw dissent from members of the two junior partners in the three-party governing coalition.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Greece Passes Austerity Measures to Get $170 Billion Bailout

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(ATHENS, Greece) -- Greek demonstrators ran amuck through Athens on Sunday after Parliament passed unprecedented austerity measures to keep the country's government from default.

By a vote of 199-74, the members voted in favor of the plan that frees up $170 billion in bailout money from the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

Sunday's vote followed Prime Minister Lucas Papademos exhorting lawmakers to look at both sides of the issue and make the tough decision to avoid bankruptcy, or otherwise send the world economy into another recession since nearly all the money Greece has operated on for decades has came from foreign sources.

With the new austerity, Papademos also acknowledged the pain of the Greek people and the plan that "calls for sacrifices from a broad range of citizens who have already made sacrifices."

As lawmakers made their tough choice, Athens burned with thousands taking to the street to vandalize or loot stores and businesses.  Many feel that life as they have known it will change forever as half the workers are employed by the government, receiving a pension of 95 percent of their salary upon retirement.

The trio of foreign lenders is also making huge sacrifices to keep Greece propped up, writing off 70 percent of what Greece owes European banks in exchange for the government imposing higher taxes and deep cuts in social services.

Among the reductions Greeks can expect is the minimum wage slashed from 750 Euros to 500 Euros a month.  Unemployment, currently at 20 percent, can expect to rise with planned layoffs in the civil servants sector.

If Greece defaults on its debts, which are owned by European banks, it would cause a recession, making it far more difficult to get loans.  It would also limit U.S. exports, which would also affect the American economy.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Queen Taking Pay Freeze Amid UK Austerity Measures

John Stillwell - Pool/Getty Images(LONDON) -- In a sign of dire economic times across the pond, Buckingham Palace is now doing some budget busting, with the queen herself due for a pay freeze and Prince Charles set to foot the bill for some major expenses.

Queen Elizabeth II will see six consecutive years of frozen pay, as new austerity measures in the U.K. have cut funding for the royal household.

Taxpayer funding for royal travel and royal palaces has also been put on the chopping block, so British taxpayers will no longer foot the bill for Prince William and Kate Middleton’s travels and security.  The tab for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s expenses will now be picked up by Prince Charles.  The new measures also will lead to fewer royal parties and events, and no repairs for the royal palaces.

The queen has even approved renting out fancy rooms at St. James’s Palace as party venues during the 2012 London Olympics.  Companies that hold royal warrants -- those that have longstanding ties to the royal family -- will be given the opportunity to rent the spaces.

Under the new agreement, the queen will see 15 percent of the profits every two years from the Crown Estate, whose portfolio includes Regent Street, Windsor Great Park and more than half the country’s shoreline, the U.K.’s Daily Telegraph newspaper reported.

The move is the latest by Parliament to cut the U.K.’s major deficit problem. The country’s new coalition government, led by conservative Prime Minister David Cameron, introduced a series of major austerity cuts when it took power in 2010, slashing a number of programs.

Parliament does, however, recognize the huge draw that the royal family brings to the country, ushering in $785 million to Great Britain every year.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Clashes Erupt in Greece as Workers Begin Two-Day Strike

LOUISA GOULIAMAKI/AFP/Getty Images(ATHENS, Greece) -- Clashes between police and demonstrators erupted in Greece again Wednesday as workers there began a two-day general strike in protest of new austerity measures being proposed by the government.

The BBC reports protesters in Athens have been throwing stones and smoke bombs at authorities, who have been firing back with tear gas.

The protesters, who numbered in the tens of thousands, are angry about a parliamentary vote expected later this week: the Greek government is looking to make more budget cuts in order to receive bailout packages from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund, and avoid defaulting on its debt.

As the 48-hour strike kicked off on Wednesday, flights were grounded, public means of transportation were halted, and schools and local businesses were closed.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Greek Parliament Approves Austerity Measures

ANGELOS TZORTZINIS/AFP/Getty Images(ATHENS, Greece) -- Amid protests, the Greek Parliament voted Wednesday in favor of budget cuts that will grant the country the bailout loans it needs to help get itself out of massive debt.

The vote -- imposing $40 billion worth of austerity measures, primarily in wage cuts and tax hikes -- passed 155 to 138, paving the way for Europe and the International Monetary Fund to release $17 billion worth of bailout money that Greece needs to avoid defaulting on its debt.

Leading up to the approval, protesters gathered in the streets of Athens, clashing with riot police for hours.  Demonstrators were seen throwing large chunks of marble -- broken off of pavement and stairs -- at police, who fired back with rounds of  tear gas and stun grenades.

A day earlier, workers began a 48-hour general strike opposing the austerity measures.

Lawmakers are scheduled to hold another vote Thursday regarding the implementation of the measures.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Greek Workers Begin 48-Hour Strike as Parliament Vote Looms

ANGELOS TZORTZINIS/AFP/Getty Images(ATHENS, Greece) -- Greece has come to a halt Tuesday as workers across the country take part in a 48-hour general strike, while lawmakers debate on another round of budget cuts to help ease the country's massive debt.

Unions are protesting a vote in Parliament that would impose $40 billion worth of austerity measures, primarily in wage cuts and tax hikes.  If it doesnt pass, Greece won't get $17 billion in bailout money, leading to a default that would have global consequences.

The vote is set to take place on Wednesday, but thousands -- ranging from civil servants to transportation workers -- have already gathered to show their discontent in Syntagma Square, outside of Greece's Parliament.

Protesters are chanting, whistling and carrying flags as they march through Athens.  Some have thrown rocks, prompting authorities to fire back with tear gas.

Riot police are standing by in case of a repeat of violence seen earlier in the month.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Greek PM Papandreou Wins Confidence Vote

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(ATHENS, Greece) -- Greece's Prime Minister Tuesday survived a confidence vote, helping George Papandreou to push deeply disliked austerity measures that have sparked protests and strikes.  

There was applause inside Parliament after the vote late Tuesday, with 155 Socialist members getting behind Papandreou to win more than the required 151 votes.

Tuesday's vote has eased fears in the global market -- for now, at least -- about a possible shutdown which could have sent Greece into loan default.

Next Tuesday will be a big day to watch as the Greek Parliament will try to pass rather unpopular new austerity measures and a privatization package.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Riots, Strike in Greece Over Austerity Cuts

Photo Courtesy - Aris Messinis/AFP/Getty Images(ATHENS, Greece) -- Riots broke out in Athens Wednesday, as thousands of Greeks took to the streets to protest Parliament's approval of new austerity cuts.

Demonstrators squared off with riot squads outside of Parliament, facing rounds of tear gas, while firing back at police with rocks.  The anti-austerity marchers are against the new labor reforms and say the cuts will force people to lose their jobs.

The spending cuts are required under the 110-billion-euro bailout agreement Greece made with the European Union and the International Monetary Fund to be saved from going bankrupt.

Along with the protest, Greece is also facing a general strike that is causing flights to be grounded, factories to be closed and disruptions to schools and mass-transit systems.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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