Furious Greek civil service workers blocked government buildings for a second day in a row causing a major disruption in talks with international lenders concerning bailout funds. Reuters is reporting several dozen workers gathered to prevent senior members of an inspection team from meeting with Transport Minister Yannis Ragousis.
After negotiations broke down a few weeks ago that subsequently unnerved financial markets, Greek government officials and inspectors from the European Union, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund resumed talks on Thursday concerning a bailout payment. Greece is set to run out of money sometime in October.
The Greek state’s TV NET, reported that nearly all major ministries were occupied by protesting staff, including the ministries of finance, development, justice, labour, health, interior affairs and agriculture.
The meetings with the inspectors got off to a bumpy start, with civil service workers protesting against the austerity measures the government had pledged in order to lure the inspectors back to Athens. Access to several ministries was blocked.
Greece has yet to secure a second international bailout loan as questions persist about its ability to satisfy the aid terms. In September, Greek Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos announced more measures including a sweeping property tax. Protesters draped a banner reading “Occupation. No more” from the second floor of the Finance Ministry and speakers urged passersby to resist the government’s measures.
A Greek government spokesman said the country, where austerity measures have met fierce resistance, would escape default. Investors worldwide are wondering if that will truly be the case as the see-saw of uncertainty continues.