Public hospital doctors in Greece have embarked on a three-day walkout in a show of protest against greater layoffs demanded by foreign lenders in the debt-stricken country. On Tuesday, Greek doctors and nurses have joined the latest wave of strikes by thousands of teachers, lawyers and civil servants who are protesting at the government’s plan to implement more lay-offs and forced redeployments. Doctors are protesting against the government’s plan to merge public hospitals, with the aim of reforming their professions.
The two-day civil service walkout is expected to affect public services across the country, including shutdowns of schools, hospitals and selected transport systems.On Monday, riot police clashed with demonstrators who had taken to the streets in the capital, Athens, to protest against public sector layoffs and forced transfers in the austerity-hit nation. Protesters started the five-day strike against the government move to place thousands of public sector workers in a self-styled mobility scheme. As part of the general restructuring of the public sector, Athens must place 25,000 workers in the mobility scheme by the end of the year. The government must also meet a mandatory dismissal of 15,000 public sector employees in 2013-14. Greece has witnessed three years of austerity policies imposed by the government in a bid to win bailout loans from international creditors, including the European Central Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the European Commission. The country was severely hit by recession in 2008 due to fiscal mismanagement resulting in tax rises and spending cuts. Meanwhile, Greece’s unemployment rate stands at more than double the eurozone's average reading of 12.1 percent. Nearly one in four Greeks are unemployed. GMA/PR