A 24-hour strike by Greek labour unions has cancelled hundreds of flights, shut public offices and severely disrupted local transport. As Hayley Platt reports it's the first major industrial action to cripple the austerity-weary country in months.
Greece hasn't had a major strike since April. And it's paralysed the country - unions in both the private and public sector downed tools for 24-hours. All flights were cancelled as air traffic controllers stopped work. And no trains or ferries were operating either. Even the health service was effected with hospitals running an emergency service only. Protestors want an end to the austerity policies they're endured since the country was first bailed out - four years ago. (SOUNDBITE)(Greek) UNEMPLOYED PROTESTER, NINA VENTOURI, SAYING: "We are having a human crisis, we are sinking, we are bankrupt and they will not admit it." (SOUNDBITE)(Greek) PROTESTER, GIORGOS MALACHIAS, SAYING: "We have to help ourselves because they won't do anything for us." Recent talks in Paris with the EU and IMF over Greece's final bailout review ended in stalemate. The sticking point - a projected budget shortfall of 2 billion dollars next year. Greece wants to exit its bailout programme by the end of the year. Dominic Johnson from Somerset Capital Management says even if it does the euro zone has plenty of other problems which will still impact Greece. SOUNDBITE: Dominic Johnson, CEO and founding partner, Somerset Capital Management, saying (English): "Ultimately Europe will succeed if it makes real reform across the board rather than just tries to lose its satellite failures and actually looks to reform itself and not dodge the difficult questions that some of these exterior issues like Greece present." Greece's Prime Minister has introduced repeated rounds of unpopular austerity in return for financial aid. Now he wants to secure his government's chances of staying in power next year by managing the country's finances alone. But first Greece must complete the review with the troika by Dec 8th - and that's clearly not proving easy.