ATHENS, Sept. 16 (Xinhua) -- Greece's labor unions launched on Monday a new week of strike action, the most extensive this autumn, against austerity and reform measures introduced to tackle Greece's crippling debt problems.
The new wave of protests and rallies is expected to culminate in a 48-hour strike called by public and private sector umbrella unions ADEDY and GSEE on Sept. 18 and 19.
Mobilizations on Monday commenced with a walkout of secondary school teachers who held a rally in central Athens in protest against mass mandatory transfers of civil servants into other jobs and thousands of layoffs in the coming months under bailout deals with Greece's international lenders.
While efforts are being made to slash deficits and restore growth in the debt-ridden country, protesters suffering from high unemployment rates and a six-year recession said that the mounting pressure on Greek society is "unbearable," calling on policymakers to seek other ways to counter the economic problems.
"Today I am getting fired, tomorrow is your turn. Everybody out in the streets to fight austerity," read banners waved by protesters in front of the parliament building.
Outside the Administrative Reform Ministry, school guards placed on the so-called mobility scheme which will see about 25,000 employees in civil services relocated to other positions or sacked if other jobs can't be found, briefly clashed with police.
Most state schools across Greece remained closed on Monday, several private school teachers joined the strikes and unionists said rolling strikes would continue at least to the end of the week. In addition, administrative staff at universities and social security funds walked off the job, launching their own five-day rolling strike action.
Lawyers and doctors in public hospitals are due to join three-day strikes starting from Tuesday.
The fresh round of strikes in protest at government policies, in particular planned reforms in the public sector, is scheduled to culminate on Wednesday in a 48-hour nationwide strike which is expected to cause major disruption of public services.
Protesters on the streets of Athens on Monday said they intended to continue until their voices were heard by the government and international creditors who keep Greece afloat with vital financing in exchange for much-needed reform.
Analysts note that more than a dozen general strikes and hundreds of smaller mobilizations since the start of the crisis in 2010 have not reversed tough policies, as the country's room for maneuver at the brink of default is limited.
Greece awaits a new review of its stability and growth program in September by international auditors to secure further rescue loans and clinch a primary surplus by early 2014.
The government seems determined to fully implement the planned measures, insisting that recovery is close and calling on citizens to show patience.