Tax of­fi­cers protest against aus­ter­ity

Kathimerini English - - Focus -

Greek tax ser­vice em­ploy­ees took their protest against bailout-driven aus­ter­ity to the heart of gov­ern­ment yes­ter­day, as Athens waited to hear if its re­form plans are enough to sat­isfy euro­zone fi­nance min­is­ters meet­ing in Brussels. A large, three­floor-high ban­ner that read “Stop aus­ter­ity” was hung by the tax of­fi­cers’ union on the fa­cade of the Fi­nance Min­istry’s head­quar­ters in cen­tral Athens. “One more time, they are pre­par­ing mea­sures that will hit the same so­cial groups in the name of sav­ing the coun­try – low and mid­dle in­comes,” Dim­itris Merkos, head of the At­tica and Cy­clades tax ser­vice em­ploy­ees, told Skai TV. “De­spite the gov­ern­ment’s pro­nounce­ments that new mea­sures will not bring even one euro of aus­ter­ity, low­er­ing the in­come tax ex­emp­tion thresh­old will mean cuts in pay and pen­sions.” Greece’s left­ist- led gov­ern­ment and its of­fi­cial cred­i­tors have yet to reach com­mon ground on en­ergy and labor mar­ket re­forms, mean­ing that wrap­ping up a bailout re­view, which has dragged on for months, is set to take yet more time.

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