Thursday, December 17, 2009

[olympiaworkers] Wave of strikes sweeps Greece Dec 17 2009 10:37

A wave of strikes culminating on Thursdays pan-worker mobilisation has
been the response to the scaremongering of the government amidst the
worsening economic crisis that threatens Greece with bankruptcy.

After the week of riots came the week of strikes: the multifold strikes
that are taking place since Tuesday 15 December and peaked on Thursday 17
with the pan-workers strike called by PAME, the Communist Party Union
Front, as wells a dozens of extra-parliamentary parties of the left and
first-grade unions forming demos in 58 cities and towns around Greece.

The strikes come at a critical time for the greek economy which saw a
second degrading in ten days in terms of its credit, this time by the
Standard & Poor's group. The second degrading came as international
finance centres claimed the austerity measures announced by the
belleagured government are not likely to produce adequate results.

Due to the media strike news about Thursdays developments remain scarce;

Whereas the garbage collecting strike has been judged for a second time
illegal forcing refuse collectors to the streets, large parts of Athens
remain plunged in enormous piles of gargabe as refuse workers at the main
open refuse dump of the capital have responded to the ban of the previous
strike by blockading the gates of the depot, halting 80% of collecting
activities. The workers are demanding a reversal of 200 layoffs.

The Centres of Citizen Assistance (KEP), the jewel of efficiency in the
greek state's crown, remain closed for a second day as workers are
striking. This in effect freezes all private-public transaction as the KEP
are the offices that issues official papers needed for any paperwork. The
workers are demanding more working positions and a recognition of their
previous job experience.
Kidengarden and Primary school teachers have been on strike since the
16/12. The teachers formed a demo outside the Ministry of Education
demanding 1400E minimum wage, no hour-work schedules, and 2 years free and
obligadory kidengarden education for all children. The union has refused
to engage on "tabula rasa" dialogue with the ministry. The general union
of teachers of all grades joined the strike on Thursday.

Taxi drivers have gone on strike in Athens after one of their coleagues
was arrested for carrying two sans-papier immigrants. The taxi drivers are
demanding the abolition of the law that demands taxi drivers to ask for
papers from immigrants that ride on their vehicles, and the immediate
release of their colleague.
All hospital doctors across the country have gone on strike on Thursday
and all intensive care units remain closed.

In Peiraeus, talks were concluded on Tuesday regarding the leasing of the
Second Pier of Peiraeus to COSCO which was agreed on a bases of 69 million
euros collective compensation to the workers, an ammount that has created
a storm of political accusations by the opposition. Nevertheless the
Mechanics Union of the Merchant Fleet has gone on a "warning strike" on
Thursday demanding a minimum 1400E salary.

Geologists, designers and mechanics have also joined the strike demanding
that "we do not pay their crisis"

All media have gone on a 24h strike unil Friday morning demanding the end
of the "hostage status" of contract workers, free information sharing
emancipated from commodification, and the abolition of all laws infirnging
social security. As a result there are no news broadcasts on radio TV or
the internet. Moreover workers of ERT3 the Salonica based state channel
are accusing their directors of going against union decisions and sharing
riot footage with the police.

Apart from the wave of strikes other fronts of the social/ class struggle
remain tense:

A protest march took to the streets of Ioannina on the 16 of December
protesting against the invasion of police forces in the social centre of
the city during the days commemorating Alexandros Grigoropoulos

In Chania the immigrants social centre and a house of a comrade came under
arson attack by neonazis who painted swastigas on the walls of the social
centre. There were no human injuries and minimal damage on both buildings.
The attack comes as an escalation of parastate violence in the Cretan
city, after warnings (or threats) by the minister of public order that
left and anarchist violence will result in extreme-right terror attacks. A
protest march has been called by greens, immigrant groups, anarchists,
left wing parties, animal rights groups and the local teacher's union for
Thursday night against parastate-fascist terror.

In Athens, an effort by the extreme-right parliamentary party LAOS to set
up a racist local committee with the purpose to purge African immigrants
from Amerikis Square was countered when triple the number of antiracists
and antifascists responded to the call. The MP of LASO has to take refuge
amidst heckling and the attempts to revamp the vigilante plans that have
been degenerating in the nearby Agios PAnteleimonas square since the end
of the summer were temporarily at least contained.

In Salonica, an initiative of lawyers has sued the government for police
arbitrariness on the 6th and 7th of December: illegal preventive arrests,
illegal fingerprinting and breaching of the university asylum. A member of
the directorate of the lawyers association of Salonica has declared that
all sueing lawyers have been eyewitnesses to the police illegal actions
which are in breach of the constitution that forbids the outlawing or
inhibition of protest marches and demos. No permit is needed in greece to
form a demo or a protest march. Fingerprinting of detainees is allowed
according to a law of the junta and is more and more resisted by
The border tolls of Euzone in Kilkis remain close due to blokades by
farmers demanding the immediate apyment of a compensation for the 2007

On the morning of Thursday the greek police was once again shamed by the
suicide attempt of the legal council to the monister of public order who
jumpted from the 7th floor of the ministry. Mr Diotis is the son of the
notorious district attorney who was responsible for chamically torturing
Savas Xiros, the first arrested member of the guerrilla group 17 November,
in the intensive care of Evangelismos hospital in 2002. The man is
struggling for his life in hospital, his fall being impeded by a row of
trees. Moreover the credibility of the greek police has been once again
shaken by a poll that revealed than almost 60% of officers consider
quiting their jobs if they have to wear insignia with their number or name
while on duty, as recently announced by the ministry. Obviously the cops
are not willing not to be able brutilise citizens unpunishable.

Update: Strikers have occipied the broadcasting headquarters of ERT3, the
Salonica state channel. The media strikers interrupted the news broadcast
of the scabs reading an announcement condemning breaking the strike. ERT3
is the only national channel that has broken the strike broadcasting news
bulletins. Other strikers simultaneously occupied the Salonica editors
association officers of the city for not participating in the strike.

Yesterday members of PAME the Communist union umbrella had symbolically
occupied the ministry of economics blocking the minister's office,
dropping a huge banner on the front of the building.

Also last night radicals attacked a series of banks in the centre of
Kavala in Thrace, smashing their fronts and torching them with molotov
cocktails. 18 suspects were later detained but released.

It must be noted that the strikes are against the will of the PASOK
controlled greek CGT.

2nd update: The workers march in Iraklio, Crete was concluded with a
blockade of the medical centre of the city due to nine people being sacked
in the past month.

In Athens contract workers for the county of Attiki occupied the municipal
headquarters in Sygrou avenue protesting against the sacking of 300
co-workers at the end of November.

Also thugs attacked strikers at a construction site of the National
Electricity Company today inflicting serious injuries to 3 workers who
have been hospitalised. The construction sector unionism is predominantly
and historically Communist Party controlled.

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