April 29 - Greece agrees to cut 15,000 public sector jobs in order to access 8.8 billion euros of rescue loans from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund. Joanne Nicholson reports.
Tough but necessary measures. Greece's parliament has voted in favour of more austerity. 15,000 jobs in the country's public sector will be axed. There will also be more property taxes and a reduction in the minimum wage. The measures are needed so Greece can access 8.8 billion euros in rescue loans to help pay wages, as well as the bonds held by the European Central Bank that mature in less than three weeks. But that's of little comfort to those about to lose their jobs. "You are destroying our lives" read one banner outside parliament. "It is time to overturn this" said another. But Greece's Prime Minister is sticking to his guns. (SOUNDBITE)(English) GREEK PRIME MINISTER, ANTONIS SAMARAS, SAYING: "We are going through a very difficult path, but this is going to be a success story." Many hope the pain will ultimately help move the country forward. (SOUNDBITE) (Greek) PENSIONER, PANAGIOTIS PELEKIS, SAYING: "Some things are unpleasant but what can be done? Is there a better choice? Who wants to hear about firings? No one. That is the worst. As far as the other measures, well, something needs to be done and is being done." Euro zone officials will meet on Monday to approve payment of another 2.8 billion euros in rescue loans. The rest is expected to be released in the middle of May. It's saved the country from bankruptcy and prevented a messy exit from the euro zone economy. But the harsh austerity measures have caused a recession in Greece that's seen its economy shrink by a quarter. Unemployment has reached 27 percent and disposable income has fallen by a third.