Greece Hit by Strikes and Power Cuts Over Pension Bill

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Greece Hit by Strikes and Power Cuts Over Pension Bill

Greek electricity utility unions vowed to extend their strike in protest against a pension reform bill on Tuesday with more power cuts, and council workers joined a strike over the bill that unions say cuts benefits, Reuters is reporting today.

Greece's ruling conservatives face more stoppages this week as unions accuse the government of backtracking and drafting a bill that increases retirement age and reduces benefits, mainly to women and working mothers.

The government, plagued by months of protests over the changes, insists reforms are needed to save the ailing social security system from a possible collapse in 15 years' time.

Public and private sector umbrella unions plan a three-hour work stoppage on Wednesday and a general nationwide strike for March 19.

Athens airport ground staff, workers in factories and other large private enterprises, lawyers and doctors will take part in Wednesday's strike, from 12 to 3 p.m. (1000-1300 GMT).

Bank of Greece employees and garbage collectors continued their days-long strike with heaps of garbage growing while local council workers joined the strike on Tuesday.

Parliamentary debate on the reform bill starts later on Tuesday.

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