General strike grips Greece as reform talks stall

Public services ground to a halt in Greece on Thursday as unions launched a general strike in protest at more austerity planned in the coming year.

The walkout came a day after crucial talks between Greece and its EU-IMF creditors failed to break a deadlock on the country's planned budget and reform agenda for 2015.

Air and ferry traffic was disrupted and operations of hospitals, schools, shops and banks affected.

"We are responding to the dogmatic insistence of the government and (the creditors) for further austerity policies and tax raids," the main Greek union GSEE said.

Protests will also be held in Greece's main cities later in the day.

Greece's budget for 2015 has failed to win the approval of the so-called troika of international creditors — the European Union, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank.

Other contentious issues include structural reforms including union rights and social assurances as the government faces popular pressure ahead of elections likely to be held next year.

"There was no overall agreement but progress was made on several topics," a finance ministry source told AFP late on Wednesday.

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