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Issue #1539      14 March 2012

Intensifying class struggle

Statement Communist Party of Greece (KKE)

A life of hell for the working class, for all the people who toil is being prepared by the black front of the coalition government-Troika-plutocracy. Their agreement on the measures which have been announced is only the precursor for infinitely worse measures, which they will bring with their “new agreement” by June 2012.

The new memorandum of impoverishment which was voted on February 12 includes amongst others the following measures:

Salaries

  • Reduction of basic salaries by 22% (National General Collective Agreement-NGCA, sectoral and professional agreements).
  • The basic salary for the newly hired workers will be further reduced by 10%, besides the 22% reduction i.e. a reduction of 32%.
  • Abolition of sectoral bargaining agreements.
  • Freezing of wages until 2015.
  • Full time employment will be converted to part-time employment, upon the decision of the employers.
  • Automatic wage increases based on seniority are suspended until unemployment falls below 10%, in fact they are abolished.
  • Collective bargaining agreements will last for maximum three years.
  • All collective bargaining agreements which apply today will expire one year after the adoption of the new memorandum.
  • Review of the new NGCA by the end of July in order to align with the basic salary in rival countries (Portugal, Turkey, Central and Southeastern Europe).
  • Abolition of one-sided recourse to arbitration.

Pensions, social contributions

  • Reduction of pensions by 300 million Euros annually. The new cuts will affect both basic and auxiliary pensions.
  • Further cuts in basic pensions of several pension funds which will apply retrospectively from January 1, 2012.
  • Merging of all auxiliary pension funds by June 2012 and the beginning of “a sustainability factor that adjust benefits to promptly eliminate any future imbalances should they occur” which will lead to new cuts to auxiliary pensions as well as to retirement compensations.
  • 2% reduction of the social contributions of the employers through the abolition of the contributions for the Workers’ Housing Organisation and social benefits. The respective organisations will close down.
  • New reduction of the contributions that the employers pay for IKA (the biggest pension fund of private sector workers) from January 1, 2013 by 3%.

Employees in public sector- Former state-owned enterprises- Banks

  • Abolition of permanent employment in former state-owned enterprises and banks and reduction of salaries.
  • New dismissals of 15,000 employees in public sector in 2012, through “labour reserve”.
  • Reduction of employees in public sector, who work with temporary contracts, by means of not renewing contracts.
  • Cuts of 636 million Euros on the salaries of the employees in public sector who are paid according to special wage scale by the end of July 2012.
  • New cuts on the salaries in public sector by means of revising the wage scales.
  • Reduction of the number of public sector employees by 150,000 till 2015 and employment in line with the rule of 1 recruitment for 5 exits.
  • Reduction of the overall intake in academies (military, police) that guarantee automatic employment in public sector.
  • Closure of public organisations and entities by June 2012.

Additional measures in 2012

  • Reduction in the sector of healthcare and pharmaceutical spending by 1.1 billion Euros.
  • Cuts in a series of social benefits, by enacting criteria based on income.
  • Reduction of benefits for families with more than three children.
  • Reduction of operational and consumption spending of the state by 300 million Euros.
  • Cuts on several entities supervised by the ministries of Education and Culture by 200 million Euros.
  • Reduction of expenditure on the overtime of doctors in hospitals by 50 million Euros.
  • Reduction of Public Investment Programs by 400 million Euros.
  • Reduction of expenditure on military equipment for the defence of the country.
  • A new tax system in June 2012 which will abolish a series of tax breaks which have remained for sections of the workers. Larger tax exemptions for big capital.

The myths regarding the crisis must be rejected

This massacre of working class-popular gains which are being implemented by the memorandum of February12 as well as Memorandum 1 (2010) and the so-called Medium-term program were not discovered now, they were clearly described from the Maastricht Treaty to the “Strategy for the Euro 2020” which were agreed on by all the governments in the EU before the crisis. The crisis is of the capitalist system itself and not of the debt as various bourgeois and opportunists claim.

The capitalist crisis is the opportunity and pretext for the imposition of measures now which have been already scheduled and are necessary for the competitiveness and profitability of the European monopolies. These are reactionary measures which have as their urgent goal extremely cheap labour power and the mass eradication of small and medium-sized businesses.

Without radical changes at the level of the economy and power, as long as the capitalist monopolies are dominant everywhere within the EU there cannot be a pro-people solution.

The various so-called pro-people funds, the utopian humanisation of the European Central Bank, the various loans which will again be paid for by the people either through Eurobonds or through renegotiation or through the separation of the debt into allegedly moral and odious debt which again means that the people will pay.

Such management proposals serve capitalist profitability and incriminate the people, so they must be rejected.

The response of the KKE

The responsibility now lies with the people. It is necessary for the worst to be prevented. For this to be realised, the basic direction of the people’s movement must be the overthrow of capitalism. The only way out is the working class popular power with disengagement from the EU and unilateral cancellation of the debt. There is no other solution for the people.

In this course of intensifying class struggle, the overthrow of the government and elections will be a link in the class struggle and beneficial for the people, provided that they use it as a weapon to cause an even greater rupture in the political system. Now the question for the people and every worker, for the unemployed, the self-employed, the poor farmers, for young people and women who belong to the popular strata, for every individual is not just their liberation from the parties of the plutocracy, but their support for the KKE. In this way will the rupture be substantial.

Any other political choice does not frighten them, does not make life difficult for them, but facilitates a political solution which will come in succession so that the massacre of the people can be implemented. It will facilitate the promotion of new reserves for the bourgeois political system, possibly of new parties or party alliances, which will seek the most effective deception and subjugation of the people.

Only the alliance with the KKE can serve the people’s interests, because a pro-people political line can exist only in people’s power. But this is not enough; today workers must not consider themselves merely as voters. They must be active, contribute to the unions on a daily basis, to the struggle committees in the workplaces, to the people’s committees concerning every problem of the people so that the anti-people offensive meets a practical answer until the final confrontation for power.  

Next article – NATO forces operating covertly in Syria: Wikileaks

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