Union opposition to the Greek government’s austerity program intensified yesterday as tax collectors went on strike, and power workers vowed to sabotage a new emergency property tax aimed at plugging a budget gap spotted by international creditors.

 

Tax and customs workers walked off the job for two days to protest cuts in their bonus pay while the power company union said it would “not allow the company to be used as a tax-collecting mechanism” for the property levy, which will be included on household electricity bills and is expected, together with fresh public sector cuts, to reap $2.7 billion this year.

 

The government, which said it chose that system of payment because of inefficiencies within the tax authorities, called the union threat “unacceptable.”

 

Greek taxi owners, who object to the abolition of protective licensing restrictions, also launched a 48-hour strike yesterday. In July, cabbies walked off the job for nearly three weeks, blockading airports and harbours at the height of the tourist season.