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Strikes, protests in Greece over latest pension reform

[ATHENS] Greeks will hold protests on Tuesday against a new pension reform, the third major overhaul in a decade, that encourages a longer working life.

The bulk of public transport in Athens will go on a 24-hour standstill, ferry ship services will be disrupted and journalists will stage a three-hour work stoppage against the reform bill.

Protests are due in the capital during the day.

The new conservative government says the reform, to be voted by Friday, will make the troubled Greek pension system viable to 2070.

The labour ministry says it will contain pension increases and reduce penalties for pensioners still working.

Successive governments have attempted to overhaul the pension system, whose previously generous handouts are seen as one of the causes of the decade-long Greek debt crisis.

Chronic overspending and the inaccurate reporting of the budget deficit nearly bankrupted Greece in 2010 and required three successive bailouts by the European Union and the International Monetary Fund.

In return for billions of euros in rescue funds, Greece had to adopt unpopular austerity reforms and pension cuts.