Parliament in Greece has approved a bill that will open the way for the first civil service layoffs in more than a century.
The aim is to cut 15,000 jobs in order to guarantee further international assistance.
The bill passed by 168 votes to 123. It was vociferously opposed by union members outside parliament, who said the public service was being dismantled and the welfare state destroyed.
A BBC correspondent said the public sector has been seen as notoriously bloated since the 1970s and 1980s as successive administrations employed their own people.
Some 2000 civil servants will lose their jobs by the end of June, another 2000 by the end of the year, and a further 11,000 by the end of 2014.
A parallel plan will see 150,000 state jobs go by the end of 2015.
The law is a condition for Greece to receive its next tranche of loans worth 8.8 billion euros.