ATHENS, Greece – Officials in Greece announced the first details of major staff cuts for its bloated public sector Tuesday, sparking anger among unions who pledged to extend strikes and occupy city halls across the country.

Euro area finance ministers late Monday approved Greece loan installments worth $8.7 billion, despite the conservative-led government missing a deadline to place 12,500 workers in program that subjects them to involuntary transfers within the public sector.

Greece has also promised to ax a further 15,000 jobs by the end of next year.

On Tuesday, the government said it had been given three months by rescue lenders to catch up, and announced it was placing 4,200 workers – including school guards and elementary school teachers – on an eight-month suspension with reduced pay before the end of July.

The announcement marked a shift in Greece’s grueling austerity program which has relied heavily on pay cuts and tax hikes to try to balance its budget.


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