NIKI KITSANTONIS AND MATTHEW SALTMARSH
The New York Times
June 29, 2010

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ATHENS — Public services in Greece ground to a halt, and transportation was disrupted on Tuesday as thousands of workers joined a general strike, the fifth this year, to protest deeply unpopular spending cuts that the debt-ridden government has promised its international creditors.

The country’s two main labor unions —referred to by their acronyms A.D.E.D.Y. and G.S.E.E, and representing some three million workers — vehemently oppose a draft law that aims to raise retirement ages, reduce monthly payments to pensioners and facilitate layoffs. The bill follows from the government’s decision to accept a one-year aid package in May of about $135 billion over three years from Greece’s European partners and the International Monetary Fund.

The strike action on Tuesday was timed to coincide with the start of a debate on the bill in Parliament. The debate is expected to continue until next week.

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