Dec. 29 (Bloomberg) -- Greek tax collectors began a 48-hour strike today to oppose government tax policies and public-sector staff cuts, ignoring a plea by Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos to call off the walkout.
“Decisions taken by the government contribute to the destruction of the tax collection mechanism and further financial distress of workers,” Haralambos Nikolakopoulos, who heads the Federation of Tax Collectors, said in a letter posted on the union’s website. “Tax collectors, fully aware of the difficult situation the country is in, can’t remain silent.”
Fiscal measures tied to international financing for Greece, which agreed to a European Union-led bailout in May 2010 and secured a second aid package in October, have led to strikes and protests as Greeks see their wages and pensions reduced and taxes raised.
Venizelos, at a meeting with union representatives in Athens yesterday, said the strike would cause “intolerable damage to fiscal targets.” The union went ahead, saying the discussion at the meeting was about “generalities” and no specific commitments were made, according to a separate statement posted on the union’s website late yesterday.
The union says not enough is being done to clamp down on tax evasion.
--Editors: Alan Purkiss, Chris Peterson
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