The Greek parliament has approved the new set of austerity measures and the privatization legislation with a robust margin. But unfortunately even this victory is not going to be a breakthrough in this crisis.
Assuring passage of the austerity and privatization legislation in parliament was only the easy part. Given the waves of discontent being expressed by the so-called indignant citizens on Syntagma Square in Athens and trade unions’ militant industrial action, the subsequent implementation process will be severely challenged by different constituencies and thus risks being delayed or sabotaged.
Greek public and private sector unions hold a further 48-hour general strike this Tuesday and Wednesday, the fifth in 2011, after staging seven last year. The rolling strikes of the GENOP-DEH trade union at the Public Power Corp (PPC) against the government’s plan to reduce its shareholding from 51 percent to 34 percent is the initial litmus test of the privatization program. All aspects of the complex relationship between the government and trade unions in Greece are concentrated in this stand off.