Strike closes Athens airport

Strike closes Athens airport

ATHENS, Greece — Greek unions have called strikes against plans to overhaul the country’s pension system that could be finalized this week in talks with bailout negotiators.

Protests planned Thursday are set to ground most flights, halt television news programs, close state schools, and leave public hospitals accepting emergency cases only.

Negotiators from European Union institutions and the International Monetary Fund are due to meet Thursday with Labor Minister Giorgos Katrougalos to discuss the reforms for Greece’s pension system, battered by high unemployment and a massive 2012 debt restructuring deal.

The left-wing government is resisting pressure to impose a new round of deep cuts for pensioners and wants hike contributions from businesses and salary earners – triggering protests from professional groups that have lasted months.

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