Athens ministry picketed ahead of austerity talks

AP News
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Posted: Sep 11, 2012 6:16 AM
Athens ministry picketed ahead of austerity talks

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Communist-backed unionists are picketing the Labor Ministry in Athens ahead of a visit there by debt inspectors monitoring Greece's austerity program.

Dozens of members of the PAME union, holding banners and chanting slogans, blocked access to the ministry building Tuesday.

PAME said in a statement it was protesting what it described as demands from Greece's creditors for a new increase in retirement ages and an extension to the working week.

Ministry officials said the meeting with inspectors from the European Union, International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank would be delayed.

Debt-crippled Greece has been kept afloat by international rescue loans since 2010, in return for big spending cuts. The conservative-led coalition government is working to finalize a new €11.5 billion ($14.7 billion) austerity program for 2013-14.