BUSINESS

Greece passes second austerity plan, protests go on

ATHENS – Greece’s parliament has passed legislation implementing a crucial five-year, EUR 28.4 billion austerity plan, one day after a closely fought parliamentary vote approved the overall outlines of the plan, Wall Street Journal said.

According to a running vote count by Dow Jones Newswires, the measure has passed with at least 151 lawmakers voting in favor.

The vote was about putting into practice the tax hikes, pay cuts, privatisations and public sector redundancies approved in principle on Wednesday, the BBC reported. Public reaction has been very hostile, and the debate has been accompanied by strikes and violent protest. Clashes continued on Syntagma (Constitution) Square outside parliament overnight, as police fired tear gas at stone-throwing youths.

Meanwhile in the UK, hundreds of thousands of public sector workers have gone on strike over planned pension changes.

Teachers from three unions have walked out and more than 40% of state schools in England and Wales have been closed or partially shut. The Public and Commercial Services union, which includes police support and border staff, were also on strike. The government says the plans are “fair to taxpayers” and other unions are continuing with negotiations.

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