Wikinvest Wire

A big week for the Greeks

Monday, February 22, 2010

This week will be a big test for confidence in the euro as the Greeks are planning to go forward with a bond sale of up to $7 billion amid continuing confusion about what, if anything, the currency union members have pledged to do to provide aid.

Here's a short summary from this story at MarketWatch.

Earlier today, the European Commission contradicted a report that appeared in the German weekly Der Spiegel that a plan was already in place to provide up to $34 billion in aid to the troubled Aegean nation.

Meanwhile, Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou found time for an interview with the German magazine on timely topics such as "massive corruption, rampant tax evasion, and efforts to get his country back on track" as plans are made for a general strike later this week and more workers protest throughout Europe.

From the MarketWatch report:
Labor unrest spread across Europe on Monday as pilots for German airline Deutsche Lufthansa AG started a four-day strike and the union representing British Airways cabin crew prepared to announce the outcome of a strike ballot, while other countries such as Greece also braced for unrest.
The pilots walked out after negotiations over their work contracts collapsed. The union is seeking a 6.9% pay increase and reassurance that the airline wouldn't start using pilots from recently-acquired airlines like BMI and Austrian Airlines on union-flown routes.
It wasn't just the airline sector that was affected by strikes on Monday.

Unions representing French oil company Total on Monday called for a refinery strike to spread to all French plants.
Meanwhile as Greece struggled to cope with its ballooning debt crisis and the government committed to massively reduce spending, threats are looming of a big private-sector strike on Wednesday.

Government efforts to get debt under control are also spurring worker action in other countries. In Portugal, unions representing the country's public-sector workers are gearing up for a March 4 national strike to challenge a wage freeze. Labor unions in Spain have planned demonstrations against proposed changes to the retirement age starting on Monday.
They seem to strike first and ask questions later over there...

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