Traffic wardens take up protests, as Greece scrambles to meet austerity targets

  • Updated: July 5, 2013 - 11:55 AM

ATHENS, Greece — Municipal police officers on Friday blocked streets in central Athens, briefly scuffled with regular police, and heckled Greek government officials attending a meeting with international debt inspectors.

The protest occurred as the government scrambled to meet its austerity targets and avoid any new delays in rescue loan payouts, while negotiations with the "troika" — the European Union, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund — headed into the weekend.

The municipal officers, frequently used for traffic warden duty and to check street vendors' licenses, staged the protest following reports they would be included in an involuntary staff transfer scheme.

Greece is trying to finish negotiations with the troika for the next rescue loan payout worth 8.1 billion euros ($10.4 billion). Eurozone finance ministers are due to consider the payment when they meet in Brussels on Monday.

The conservative-led government is months behind targets for public sector staff cuts and transfers and is facing resistance from unions who describe the emerging reforms as poorly planned and unfair.

The civil servants union ADEDY is planning a three-hour work stoppage Monday and protest in central Athens.

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