Feb. 13 - After a night of rioting, small businesses and unions warn of further consequences for the economy, including closures and strikes. Joanne Nicholson reports.
Just when they thought it couldn't get any worse, Greek shopkeepers are now dealing with the cost of cleaning up after a night of riots. After Parliament voted in favour of the stringent austerity measures to try and ensure another bailout from the EU, many took to the streets, and caused this. Many fear the cuts combined with the cost of repairs could sink some small businesses. George Monedas owns this clothing shop: (SOUNDBITE)(Greek) GEORGE MONEDAS, 47, CLOTHING SHOP OWNER SAYING: "We came in the middle of the night, everything was burned, nothing has escaped, and now we have to go through the process of putting up bars and rebuilding everything while at the same time trying to keep the staff on, which means battling all over again." The National Confederation of Greek Commerce assessed the economic damage. Vassilis Korkidis is it's President.: (SOUNDBITE)(English) KORKIDIS SAYING: "The state was not prepared and was not adequate to prevent all these damages, fires, and vandalism, that we saw last night in Athens. Unfortunately 40 to 45 stores were partly or completely destroyed, and that means that they will not re-open, so all these people that was working in these shops they lost their jobs in one night." With 15,000 public sector jobs due to be axed, a reduced minimum wage and a steep cut in pensions, Greece's unions are also warning of more strikes. The Confederation of Civil Servants says the new austerity measures will destroy growth and drive people further into poverty. It plans to join forces with the private sector says its vice president Antonis Antonakos. (SOUNDBITE) (Greek) VICE PRESIDENT OF ADEDY ANTONIS ANTONAKOS SAYING: "We understand the desperation of the people. We live this desperation and share it with them, and we understand and share the rage being expressed in the squares and the streets. But often there is silent rage too and if that snaps it will poison everything." But the Greek government must implement the cuts if it's to get a vital bailout. Businesses may be heading for bankruptcy but without the cash so too is the country. Joanne Nicholson, Reuters