View Full Version : Greece erupts as men from IMF prepare to wield axe

05-01-2010, 11:53 PM
Greece is a prime example of what will happen if the libs on DU every get what they want with guaranteed jobs for life, extra pay just for showing up on time and massive paid vacations. Eventually, as Greece is now finding out someones got to pay for it all because guess what DUers... money don't grow on trees.

Economists regard the bloated civil service with its jobs for life and generous pensions as a cancer consuming the country’s resources. The older generation, the experts grimly concur, turned the state into a giant cash machine to be plundered at will.

Today the party is over, however, and that makes some experts optimistic: Greece now has no choice but to implement much-needed reforms that will bring swift results. “It’s like a dentist putting a child in braces,” said one observer. “It’s not nice, but necessary for growth in the right direction.”

Even before it was announced, the rescue package had provoked angry outbursts. On Thursday, Gettos and friends tried to break through a police cordon outside the finance ministry only to be forced back by tear gas.

They were in the thick of things again yesterday when police used tear gas to prevent protesters from marching on the American embassy.

Even greater social unrest is expected as resentment simmers among poorer families at being told to tighten their belts when wealthy Greeks can protect their fortunes by moving their money abroad, some of it into property bargains in London.

“It’s always the poor people who pay,” complained Katerina Ioannou, 20, in the cafeteria of the Athens University law faculty, a hotbed of student activism. “If I get a job as a trainee lawyer I’ll only earn €300 [£260] a month,” said Thanos Petrou, 21. “How can anyone survive on that?”

Some are already referring to a “lost generation” who will never find jobs or security, but the students, proud of their university’s reputation for being at the forefront of the uprising against the military dictatorship in 1973, are not the only ones planning resistance.

Mikis Theodorakis, the 84-year-old musician who composed the score for the film Zorba the Greek, calls for revolt against what he sees as an American plot to turn Greece into a “protectorate”. Bureaucrats will raise their fists at the barricades in a general strike and protests on Wednesday to protect their considerable perks from the IMF.

They and other public sector workers are virtually unsackable, can retire as early as 45 and get bonuses for using a computer, speaking a foreign language and arriving at work on time.

Some of them get as many as four extra months’ salary a year, compared with the 14 months that are paid to other Greek workers. One of the most generous bonuses is paid to unmarried daughters of dead employees in state-controlled banks: they can inherit their parents’ pensions.

Stefanos, 49, seems to embody the Greek good life. He retired as an army captain last year on a full pension and says he is quite happy planting his garden. He worries, though, about how to protect his savings from the crisis. “What about banks in Germany?” he asked friends around a dinner table in Athens.

Whole story here (http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/europe/article7113941.ece)