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Issue #1532      25 January 2012

Greece:

Decisive escalation of the struggle

A truly major and tough strike against the employers was organised on January 17 by the three Labour Centres in the wider Athens region after the exertion of a great deal of pressure by PAME’s (All Workers Militant Front) forces and also in one of the country’s other large cities Volos, where the strike was called by the base-level unions at the initiative of PAME’s forces.

The aim of the strike was for the working class to respond to the barrage of anti-worker measures which it is receiving from the government of the black front, the coalition of government of PASOK (social democrat), ND (conservatives), LAOS (far right) and the Troika (the IMF, European Commission, European Central Bank). These measures include making labour relations more flexible, plans for the further reduction of salaries by 150-200 euros per month and the abolition of seasonal bonuses in the private sector.

Also the individualisation of social insurance based on performance, privatisations, savage taxation through the head-taxes which have brought families from the working class and popular strata to their knees sending hundreds of thousands of families into destitution, soup kitchens and homelessness. It is indicative that thousands of families have not paid the head-tax which came with their electricity bill. The government has started to send teams to cut the electricity supply to families from the popular strata.

It was no accident that the strike coincided with the arrival of the Troika’s delegation in Greece to elaborate jointly with the government the strengthening of the anti-worker offensive to the benefit of capital. It is characteristic that in a matter of a few weeks the employers have been gifted with new subsidies, privileges, with the provocative increase in the number of subsidised businesses. In addition, there is the creation of industrial zones where now by law there will be a complete immunity for capital and the salaries of the workers will be cut. At the same time the ship-owners acquired new privileges with the full liberalisation which they impose via the abolition of the cabotage.

This strike as well as its preparation had a further special contribution as it took place in solidarity with striking steel-workers. And in the two cities where the strike was organised, the atmosphere was provided by the steelworkers of Greek Steelworks, with bits three factories closed by the strike.

This was preceded by the strike in the region of Volos, in the metal sector, which opened a second front exerting as much pressure as possible on the industrialist who has carried out over 65 dismissals in Greek Steelworks. The striking workers in the Athens factory and their trade union, which belongs to PAME, remain unbowed for 80 days while the noose is tightening around the industrialist-owner of the company, as the big strike was the second in five days. Up to now the industrialist Manessis has covered his losses from the long strike in the Athens factory by doubling production in his other two factories.

The metalworkers in Volos along with all the class oriented forces in the region fought in a hard battle and won; organised and determined against the police (the police director in the wider region of Volos demanded that the strikers declare their names), trade union bureaucrats, strike breaking, MPs of the bourgeois parties and the local media which claimed that “PAME wants to close down the factories”.

On January 12 it was the first time in 24 years that all machines in the compound of the Greek Steelworks in Volos stopped working.

The employers were so furious that during the second strike they a shift of workers trapped in the factory and ordered some of their lackeys to hold a banner with slogans against PAME. Despite this attempted strikebreaking, the industrialist did not manage to make the factory operate.

PAME organised a large rally in Athens where the president of the union in the Greek Steelworks G Sifonios and other cadre of PAME spoke. The class oriented forces declared their determination to wage an unwavering class struggle, to continue the struggle in the Greek Steelworks, to refuse any participation in the so called “social dialogues”, to organise “garrisons” in every working class neighbourhood so as to prevent the cutting off of electricity to any family from the working class and popular strata and to escalate the struggle for a new general strike.

CP of Greece (inter.kke.gr)  

Next article – Dump austerity pact, demands Sinn Fein

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