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Greek Unions Call For Strike As Crisis Talks Continue

Caretaker Greek Prime Minister Lucas Papademos is a former deputy head of the European Central Bank.
Greece's two largest private and public sector unions have called for a 24-hour nationwide strike to begin on February 7 to protest austerity measures at the heart of measures aimed at rescuing Greece from its debt crisis.

The unions said in a statement that proposed new cutbacks would "intensify the vicious cycle of recession and drive Greek society to despair."

The strike was announced as party leaders in Greece's governing coalition were resuming crisis talks on a fresh austerity package that is required for Greece to receive a needed bailout package from international creditors.

Talks over the weekend failed to produce a breakthrough.

The reforms and other measures being pressed on Greece include government spending cuts worth some 1.5 percent of GDP, recapitalization of banks, squeezing labor costs, and pension and civil-service job cuts.

Other European leaders have warned of dire consequences for Greece if it fails to impose austerity measures to shore up public finances in exchange for hundreds of billions of euros in bailouts and write-offs.

The new bailout deal is vital for Greece to avoid bankruptcy in March.

Compiled from agency reports

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