Greek seamen, farmers, protest planned pension reforms

Greek ferry crews have launched a two-day strike while hundreds of farmers are preparing to block highways to protest unpopular draft pension reforms that will further cut incomes in the austerity-weary country.

Unions representing practically all sectors of economic activity — including private and public sector workers, lawyers, doctors, farmers and seamen — fiercely oppose the reforms.

They say the cutbacks demanded by the country's bailout creditors, combined with further tax hikes, will eradicate up to 85 percent of annual income for some professional groups, particularly farmers.

Hundreds of farmers drove their tractors Wednesday towards key road junctions, which they plan to block in coming days. In the northern town of Komotini, police fired tear gas at farmers who tried to break a cordon and meet the country's agriculture minister.