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Greece

Greece faced with shutdown by general strike

Reuters

Air, rail and maritime workers in Greece prepared to strike Wednesday to protest the government’s plan to resolve its debt problems through cost-cutting measures. The one-day strike will likely shut down schools and government services, and disrupt hospitals, banks and state-owned companies.

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The general strike, called by the powerful GSEE worker’s confederation and supported by the civil servant union, started at midnight. Thousands of people in the public and private sectors were set to take part.

Bus and metro lines in Athens will run on minimum service to get people to the centre of the city for planned demonstrations.

The austerity measures being protested will affect the economy, which has prompted the Fitch rating agency to downgrade the ratings of the country’s top banks.

The measures needed to rectify Greek public finances "will have a significant effect on the real economy, affecting loan demand and putting additional pressure on asset quality," said the agency.

Delegations from the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund arrived in Athens for talks with government officials to asses the country’s plans.

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