Athens transport workers strike ahead of parliament bailout vote

Transport workers in Athens launched a 48-hour strike Saturday in advance of a vote in the Greek Parliament on a new package of tax hikes that are demanded by the country's international creditors.

Metro, tram and commuter train drivers walked off the job Saturday, paralysing traffic in the Greek capital. Bus drivers were set to follow suit on Sunday.

They are protesting a bill in parliament designed to generate 1.8 billion euros (2 billion dollars) through a tax hike affecting restaurants, hotels, petrol and public transportation tickets.

Parliament must pass the measures in order for the cash-strapped country to receive additional bailout loans from its creditors.

A vote is set for Sunday night and is expected to pass.

Tax on food and drinks, including those sold in restaurants and bars, would rise from 23 per cent to 24 per cent under the new plan. The tax on tickets for local and long-distance travel is to rise by the same amount.

Other goods and services to face VAT rises would be cigarettes, fixed line telephone services and pay TV services. Stays in Greek hotels starting in 2018 would see added fees.

Last update: Fri, 24/06/2016 - 08:49
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