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Issue #1536      22 February 2012

Greek steel workers celebrate 100 days

Steel workers of “Greek Steelworks” celebrated 100 days on strike and “We steelworkers will be here till the victory”. This clear and absolute promise was made by the workers of “Greek Steelworks”. They honoured their strike once again with a concert organised by the union. Militant and working class songs, dancing and enormous solidarity from workers, farmers, students, young people and ordinary people from the popular strata marked the concert.

A protestor from the steel workers union shouts out slogans.

They celebrated each day of the 100 days of strike against the cruel and ruthless employer who had fired 65 workers, used blackmail for the acceptance of the anti-worker measures, reduced their wages by 50 percent and enforced a regime of employment by rotation. From the first moment of this magnificent struggle PAME (All Workers Militant Front) has been their firm support. In these 100 days the strikers have had the support and solidarity from the popular strata throughout the country and the entire world.

At the celebration of the 100 days of the strike, the strikers witnessed the strengthening of the practical solidarity with their struggle. They received important practical assistance, money, food, household goods. In addition, solidarity was expressed through the presence of crowds of people and representatives of class-oriented trade unions of PAME, who gathered outside the gates of the factory from early on.

The solidarity with the heroic strikers of “Greek Steelworks” is not restricted by borders. Parties and organisations, responding to the call of the KKE (Communist Party), PAME and the World Federation of Trade Unions for international solidarity supported the struggle with statements, resolutions, mass demonstrations, protest rallies outside Greek embassies and consulates, visits to Greece and expression of solidarity at the gates of the factory, while they offered important practical financial assistance from their meagre resources to the strikers. The value of this massive solidarity is inestimable.

Girogos Sifonios, president of the union, stressed in his speech at the rally: “100 days ago we began a big heroic struggle. We said no to the blackmail of the employers and chose, as we were obliged to as workers, the path of honour and decency, the path of struggle.” In reference to the conclusions to be drawn from the 100 days of the strike he noted: “Our struggle constitutes a major legacy for the labour movement of our country and a glorious page in its history.

“The hundred days of strike is already a major victory for the striking steelworkers and the solidarity of the working class. It constitutes a major victory against employer intimidation, fatalism, class peace, the logic of the lesser evil, the compromised logic of employer and government-led trade unionism, the multi-faceted pressure to split us, to disorient us. It highlighted the strength of the workers, the fact that without us nothing operates, that we produce the wealth and the employers appropriate it.”

He continued: “The steelworkers acquired greater experience from the 100 days on strike. We are more experienced and stronger so as to continue our struggle. We will continue to convey the message to other factories and companies. We are determined, there is no other way.”

A similar solidarity concert is scheduled at the second front which has been opened in the region of the other two factories of the company “Greek Steelworks” in Volos.

The following countries expressed their solidarity:

Algeria, Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Denmark, France, Germany, Great Britain, Honduras, India, Iran, Italy, Mexico, The Netherlands, Lithuania, Pakistan, Palestine, Panama, Peru, Portugal, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, Venezuela, USA.  

Next article – Olympics tainted by BP, Dow involvement, critics charge

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