Greece passes job cuts bill

Greece's coalition government has voted through a bill to sack around 25,000 public sector workers as thousands chanting anti-austerity slogans protested outside parliament.

Workers comforted by colleagues outside Greece vote

Tensions were high outside the Greek parliament late on Wednesday when riot police encircled the area after protesters tore down metal barriers near the building.

Thousands of Greek workers chanting anti-austerity slogans flocked outside parliament, as lawmakers inside voted on a divisive reform bill that would cut thousands of public sector jobs.

Demonstrators sit on a broken metal fence outside the Greek parliament. Credit: Reuters

School guards that are to be placed in labour reserve in August placed their uniforms on top of Greek flags lying on the ground in front of riot police in a symbolic gesture.

Public school guard and father of two Yiorgos Avramidis, 43, is comforted by colleagues after news of the vote. Credit: Reuters

The bill - whose passage is a condition for Greece to unlock further aid from the EU and the IMF - includes plans for a public sector transfer and layoff scheme mainly affecting teachers and municipal police.

Greek PM Antonis Samaras is congratulated after a parliament vote helped secure the path for EU and IMF financial aid. Credit: Reuters

Greece passes bill to sack raft of public sector workers

Greece's coalition government scraped through a vote late on Wednesday on a bill to sack public sector workers as thousands chanting anti-austerity slogans protested outside parliament.

The vote was the first major test for Prime Minister Antonis Samaras's two-party coalition since losing an ally over the closure of the state broadcaster last month, which left it with a small five-seat majority in the 300-seat parliament.

After midnight on Wednesday, 153 lawmakers out of the 293 present voted in favour of the bill, whose passage was required to unlock nearly 7 billion euros (£6 billion) in aid from European Union and International Monetary Fund lenders.

The bill includes deeply divisive plans for a transfer and layoff scheme for 25,000 public workers - mainly teachers and police - that had triggered a week of almost daily marches, rallies and strikes in protest.

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