A ONE-DAY strike across most of the public sector in Greece last week signalled a serious confrontation with the Tory government of Costas Karamanlis, which is barely six months old.
Teachers, local government workers and hospital workers struck and took to the streets.
Significantly, they are not simply responding to the government’s plans for wage curbs and pension cuts.
They are raising their own demands for a big wage increase and for a lowering of the retirement age.
The Tory government, which was elected as a result of bitterness with the previous Labour-style government, is deeply divided over how far to risk a confrontation.
Hardliners are being egged on by the European Central Bank and European Commission, who want to see a sharp cut in Greece’s budget deficit as an example to those countries that have just joined the EU.
But resistance to austerity is growing.
Local government workers have announced a two-day strike for the beginning of next month.
Disillusionment with the government has set in far more rapidly than many on the left believed.