Tens of thousands of workers and employees both in the private and public sector responded to the strike call of the All Workers’ Militant Front (PAME), a front of class trade unions in Greece. This article first appeared on CP Greece website.PAME staged mass rallies in 66 cities throughout the country while 300 primary and secondary trade unions (Trade Unions, Trade Union Centres, Industrial Federations) in the public and private sector decided to participate in the strike.
The success of the strike was another response to the anti-people measures announced by the social-democrat government of PASOK such as wage and pension reduction, increase of retirement age. The workers turned their backs on the call of the government to consent “in order to save the country” from the crisis.
They have shown that Greece is not in danger of bankruptcy and that the big capital is responsible for the deficits and the debts. It’s the big capital that before and during the crisis has made fabulous profits blackmailing the working and popular strata and placing the burden of the crisis on their shoulders.
On February 24 follows another big strike and mobilisation. Since dawn on February 10 thousand of workers and students joined the picket lines outside the gates of factories and other workplaces. Big industrial units, multinational companies, construction sites and the biggest port of Greece in Piraeus froze.
The hard battle of preparing the strike, the picketing, the exposure of the consent of the forces of employer-led and yellow trade unionism that control the Confederations of workers in the private (GSEE) and public sector (ADEDY) strengthened the working class in Greece.
It should also be noted that GSEE continued its strike-breaking tactics and did not stage a strike, thus supporting the government. On the other hand, ADEDY called for a strike on February 10 and staged a rally in the centre of Athens though with scant participation.
On the contrary, tens of thousands participated in the mass rally of PAME in Athens which was held outside the Greek Parliament. Despite the rain, the working people condemned the anti-labour, anti-people policy and the attack of the black block namely the government along with the employers, the EU and the parties of the plutocracy that urge the working class to make the “sacrifices” that the EU and the government demand.
Vasilis Stamoulis, president of the trade union federation of the workers in the textile industry delivered a speech in the mass rally. Representatives of the peasants’ movement from All Peasants’ Militant Rally [PASY] and the Pan-Hellenic Coordination Committee of the self-employed also extended a greeting.
A delegation of the CC of KKE headed by the General Secretary of the CC Aleka Papariga participated in the rally. The mass rally followed a protest march in the central streets of Athens to the Ministry of Labour. The protesters made clear that they will not make any sacrifice for plutocracy and demanded:
▪ Stable employment for all
▪ 7-hour working day, 5-day week
▪ 1400 euro minimum salary
▪ Retirement at the age of 55 for women and 60 for men, at 50 and 55 for those in hazardous occupations
▪ Measures for substantial protection of the unemployed and their families and not charity supermarket vouchers
▪ 1120 euro unemployment benefit for the whole period of unemployment without any conditions and prerequisites.
▪ Full health and pharmaceutical care
▪ Drastic taxation of the big enterprises by 45%. Abolition of all tax relief and privileges.
Statement of the general secretary of the CC of KKE Aleka Papariga in the mass rally of PAME “Do not pay any attention to what they are saying! The rescue of bankers, industrialists, and merchant wholesalers is the only thing they care about. They will bring in even worse measures unless the working people stop this wave of measures, unless they defy the dictates of the government. So, block these measures, uprising and constant struggle! New blows are coming in social security and taxation. Block their way! Do not believe them! Turn your back on them!