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Greek workers strike over pay freeze

By Channel 4 News

Updated on 10 February 2010

Thousands of Greek civil servants stage a 24-hour strike shutting schools and grounding flights as the government plans to freeze pay and pensions.

Greece strike (Getty)

Some 5,000 members of the ADEDY public sector union gathered before parliament chanting "traitors" and waving banners reading "We won't pay for the crisis".

Riot police briefly fired teargas at demonstrators who tried to cross a nearby security cordon.

The 500,000-strong union wants Prime Minister George Papandreou to scrap emergency measures including a wage and pension freeze, and has threatened to escalate its protests.

"These measures are unjust and we will continue our struggle as long as the government does not change its policies," the union General Secretary Ilias Iliopoulos said, adding that his union would likely join a private sector walkout on 24 February.

EU leaders have insisted Greece must stick to a pledge to slash its deficit by four percentage points to 8.7 per cent of GDP this year

However France and Germany are considering emergency plans to help bail-out the country's beleaguered economy and avert a debt crisis hitting other countries in the euro zone.

A european commission source told Channel 4 News that an undefined pledge of future financial support is likely to be extended to Greece by other EU members, however it would come with stringent conditions.

A deal is expected to be discussed at an EU summit tomorrow in Brussels.

The French newspaper Le Monde quoted a source close to the French President Nicolas Sarkozy saying: ""We cannot let Greece down."

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