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Austerity in action: Greece approves to lay off 25,000 teachers, police

Austerity in action: Greece approves to lay off 25,000 teachers, police
The Greek Parliament approved the redeployment of 25,000 public sector workers by the end of the year in order to secure its next much needed aid installment of $9.2 billion (7 billion euro) from the Troika of creditors.

A total of 12,500 public sector workers, mainly teachers and municipal police will enter a ‘mobility pool’, in which they are given eight months to find new work or be fired, and another 15,000 face the same fate next year.

Prime Minister Antonis Samaras led his conservative coalition to narrowly pass the unpopular austerity scheme in the late evening hours on Wednesday.

153 members of parliament voted in favor out of a total 293 present, a bill which was a perquisite of the International Monetary Fund, European Central Bank, and European Commission to receive the next aid tranche. 

The decision was reached amid a backdrop of demonstrations, as anti-austerity protestors, many who will be directly affected by the massive government distribution of pink slips, who called for ‘no more sacrifices’ and to ‘fire the Troika’ hours before the vote.

With unemployment at over 27 percent, and 60 percent of Greece’s young adults out of work, the public doesn’t resonate with the Parliament’s decision to cut more jobs to heal the crippled economy.

"I fully understand the hardship the Greek people are going through during the great crisis," Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras said during the debate. "But I am fully convinced that the path we have chosen is correct."

The government also decided to cut VAT, value-added tax, for the food service industry from 23 percent to 13 percent in an effort to lure more tourist spending.

In a planned visit, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble will visit Greece and hold talks with Samaras.

Wolfgang Schaueble said Greece is ‘on the right track’ and their austerity measures ‘will continue to pay off’.

"Better days will come for our people. We will not let up. We will climb uphill and reach the end, which is not far," Samaras said in a televised address before parliament convened for the vote.

Greece has received over $315 billion (240 billion euros) since 2010, as the EU seeks to help pull out the troubled member state out of a deep 6-year recession which has spread throughout the continent.