Jordanians strike to protest against IMF-guided tax rises

Thousands of Jordanians joined a strike called by unions on Wednesday to protest at major, IMF-guided tax rises. Unions declared the walkout earlier this week, warning the government that sweeping tax amendments sent to parliament this month would impoverish employees already hit by unprecedented tax hikes implemented earlier this year. Unions representing public and private sector employees accused the government of caving in to International Monetary Fund (IMF) demands and squeezing a middle class while widening disparities between poor and rich, Reuters said. The amendments, which would double the income tax base, are a key condition of a three-year IMF economic program that aims to generate more state revenue to gradually bring down public debt to 77 percent of GDP in 2021.