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Greek customs workers extend strike

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[March 19, 2010]  ATHENS, Greece (AP) -- Greek customs workers announced 48-hour rolling strikes Thursday, the day that was supposed to be the last of a three-day strike to protest government austerity measures designed to pull Greece out of a debt crisis.

The customs strike has affected imports and exports, with fuel supplies in particular beginning to run short. The workers' main union called three 48-hour rolling strikes that will close customs offices until next Wednesday, when Greek workers across the country will walk off the job in a general strike.

"We have run out of everything over the past three days," said Dionyssis Mermingas, who runs a gas station in Athens. "We will be empty until next Thursday."

Labor unions have been protesting government austerity measures that include a freezing of civil servants' salaries, cuts in stipends and bonuses, a two-year increase in the average retirement age to 63 and higher taxes.

Greece's Socialists sharply revised the 2009 budget deficit after winning general elections last October -- to 12.7 percent of gross domestic product from a 3.7 percent forecast months earlier -- sending Europe into renewed financial crisis over mounting debts by Greece and several other countries using the euro.

[Associated Press]

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.



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