July 30 - Workers from the majority state-controlled ATEbank stage a 24 hour strike in Athens after learning larger rival bank Piraeus is to take over ATEbank's healthy assets. Hayley Platt reports.
Disgruntled workers from the state-controlled ATEbank stage a 24 hour strike in Athens. They're worried about losing their jobs after Greece's fourth largest lender Piraeus agreed to take over the healthy assets of their smaller rival. ATEbank's bad debts will be covered with cash from the Greek bailout - while other units are taken over by the state. Unions say the deal should never have been agreed. (SOUNDBITE)(Greek) PRESIDENT OF THE ATEBANK EMPLOYEES UNION KOSTAS AMOUTZIAS SAYING: "The employees are insecure over the future of their employment and our social security rights are in danger. Further to that, as Greek citizens we believe this is the biggest scandal in Greece: a state bank is being sold off to the private sector despite the fact that it was healthy." Greece is in its fifth straight year of recession. And it's banking sector has been relying on money from the ECB and the Greek central bank to keep it liquid. But the banks are now under pressure to consolidate in a bid to survive the debt crisis. The unions say around one hundred bank workers from ATE are at risk from the latest move. But Piraeus has reportedly said it has no plans to cut any of the 5,500 jobs. Hayley Platt, Reuters.