Thousands of protesters gathered outside the Greek parliament on Monday to show their outrage over a packet of legislative changes passed by politicians on Sunday. The legislation covered a wide range of issues, from civil service layoffs to addressing the need to enforce repayment of back taxes, as noted by Deutsche Welle.
While all of the measures were the subject of debate among legislators, none were as controversial as the announcement that the bill would mean the loss of 15,000 civil service jobs. Those jobs, which are expected to be merely the first wave of cuts, are the first layoffs by the government in more than 100 years.
Here is some of the key information regarding the legislation passed by the Greek parliament on Sunday and the impending layoffs.
* Protesters interviewed by Deutsche Welle referred to the legislation as an "omnibus" because of the number of different things that it covered, and said that it was "appalling."
* The measures were the subject of heated debate in parliament, with some politicians noticeably reluctant to implement the discussed cuts and reforms. The final vote was 168 in favor, 123 against.
* Greece currently has some 770,000 public sector workers.
* As noted by CNN, the impending layoffs are part of the austerity plans agreed to by the Greek government in exchange for billions of euros in aid from the rest of the eurozone. Going through with the layoffs will be one part of a larger set of reforms that will net Greece another 8.8 billion in funding.
* The layoffs required altering the nation's constitution, which up until Sunday had protected civil servants by guaranteeing them a permanent position. Nearly 25 percent of Greek adults are currently employed by the government.
* The job cuts were originally supposed to be handed down in March, but legislators balked at the decision to do so, which resulted in a delay of the release of more funding by the eurozone, as reported by the New York Times.
* Sunday's legislation guarantees that the troika -- the International Monetary Fund, the European Commission, and the European Central Bank -- will release an overdue payment of 2.8 billion euros. The next installment, expected to be approximately 6 billion euros, could be released to the Greek government as early as May.
* One of the largest points of contention, according to the New York Times, was a "last-minute" amendment that would allow local governments to hire young workers for less than the Greek minimum wage. The bill reportedly only gathered enough votes to pass with the inclusion of a property tax reduction of 15 percent.Vanessa Evans is a musician, traveler, and freelance writer with an interest in European studies and events.
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