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Greece Trade unionists walk out in general strike

GREEK trade unionists walked out yesterday for another 24-hour general strike in protest against the government imposing further austerity measures on hard-hit working people.

The strike halted ferry services to the islands, closed schools and left hospitals accepting only emergency cases.

Airlines rescheduled and cancelled flights as airport staff joined the action with a four-hour work stoppage, while public transport operated for certain hours only during the day.

Tens of thousands of people gathered in Athens for anti-government protests, while further demonstrations were held in more than 50 cities and towns across the country.

"The government is doing a dirty job at the expense of the Greek people," said Greek Communist Party (KKE) leader Dimitris Koutsoumbas, speaking at the main morning rally in central Athens.

Household incomes have fallen by about a third since the crisis began in 2009, according to World Bank data, and inequality has risen due to high long-term unemployment.

Roughly half the country's taxpayers are behind on payments, with several hundred thousand facing the threat of asset seizures.

Yesterday’s strike action was triggered by a government plan to further restrict strike action.

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras's government has promised to help banks clear their bad debts, speeding up auctions of homes in mortgage default.

Eight in 10 Greeks struggle to make ends meet, according to a survey by polling firm MRB released on Wednesday.

A huge 68 per cent of respondents said they were covering basic needs "with great difficulty,” while 12.7 per cent said they could no longer manage.

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