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Greek Dock Workers Extend Strike

ATHENS, Greece (AP) â¿¿ Greek dock workers extended a 48-hour strike for a further two days on Friday, leaving ferries tied up in port over the weekend, while Athens doctors walked off the job in the latest backlash against austerity measures.

The strikes come a day after hospital doctors and public transport workers in the capital walked off the job for 24 hours. Workers are protesting the latest wave of austerity measures in return for bailout funds, which unions say will lead to a further 25 percent income cut for many.

Greece has been struggling through a severe financial crisis since late 2009, and is dependent on billions of euros in international rescue loans. In return, the government imposed repeated rounds of spending cuts and tax hikes that have sent unemployment spiraling to above 26 percent and plunged the country into a recession now in its sixth year.

Greek islands, many of which have no airports and depend on sea routes for basic supplies, have been without ferry service since Thursday, when the dock workers began their initial two-day strike. Their union's decision to extend the labor action will leave ferries tied up until 6 a.m. Monday.

The main unions have also announced a nationwide general strike for Feb. 20, the latest in a long series of such walkouts over the past two years that lead to the disruption of nearly all services in the country and are often accompanied by violent demonstrations.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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