Thursday, February 25, 2010

[olympiaworkers] General Strike in Greece, Clashes in Athens Feb. 24, 2010

The general strike in both private and public sectors has seen mass
protest marches across the country and extended clashes in Athens with
dozens of shops and banks destroyed and one man arrested.

The first general strike as a response to the austerity measures in Greece
has met with huge success as the country has been immobilised by the
strike with no boats airplanes buses or trains moving within or from and
into the country. The media strike which is part of the general strike
means there are no news broadcasts or newspapers which limits the extent
of our information gathering on the strike and its protest marches

In Athens the protest march is expected to have gathered around 40,000
people and had a very dynamic character. The first incident occurred when
a plain clothed policeman was stopped and beaten by protesters. Later riot
police tries to side the numerous anarchist block but was deterred by
large numbers of protesters. Before reaching Syntagma square several
corporate shops and banks were smashed by protesters. In sytnagma square
extended clashes between protesters and riot police forces unfolded with
use of tear gas on the part of the cops and rocks and molotov cocktails by
the protesters. During the clashes Giannis Bardakos, a member of a
socialist opposition party DIKKI, was arrested. DIKKI has published a
communique condemning the arrest and the "policy of occupation forces'
imposed poverty and underdeveloped applied by the State of oppression and
violence" adding that "anti-people's terrorism will not pass". The
encircling methods of the police at the corner of Phillelinon street
however failed, two workers who the cops had arrested were rescued and the
two riot police squads were encircled by protesters and heavily beaten
with many riot shield broken. The clashes continues across Panepistimiou
street where the posh Zonars cafe was invaded by large numbers of enraged
workers and teachers who smashed it. The protesters then moved towards the
Polytechnic which is under occupation by students in response to the
breach of campus asylum in Zografou a few days ago, with many shops across
Patision avenue destroyed. The general feeling is one of great success
with the forces of repression humiliated and the working class having
proved its will to struggle against the state onslaught.

The protest march in Salonica gathered around 5,000 people under rain.
Despite small skirmishes no clashes ensued until protesters returning to
the Universities moved to destroy car control medal bars at its entrance
and came under police attack. The police with utter disregard to the
constitution moved its forces into the university asylum and led the
protesters to barricade themselves in the rectorial headquarters which are
now under occupation in protest to the renewed breach of the asylum.

Protest marches took place in many other towns with mass participation: in
Heraklion Crete the marches numbers more than a thousands, while in Volos
500 marchers broke away from the march to break the security cordon of the
METKA factory and hold an assembly in the premises.

As far as the antifascist counterdemo planned for today afternoon in
Amerikis Square, both the fascist gathering and the antifascist
counterdemo were declared banned by the district attorney. As a result,
antifascist marches were prevented to reach the square by strong riot
police forces and marched instead in the streets of Kypseli chanting
antiracist and proletarian solidarity slogans. The fascist scum never even
appeared for their advertised bigotry stunt at the square.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

[olympiaworkers] Strikes, clashes up pressure on Greek government

By DEREK GATOPOULOS, Associated Press, Feb. 24, 2010

ATHENS, Greece – Some 50,000 Greek workers took to the streets Wednesday
and a few protesters threw paint and scuffled with police during the
widest strike yet against the government's austerity plan aimed at fixing
the country's debt crisis.

The unrest flared despite a looming deadline for demonstrating tough cuts
demanded by the European Union to calm the crisis and keep it from
spreading to other countries with troubled finances such as Portugal,
Spain and Italy.

Strikes grounded flights, idled cargo ships and ferries, and left
commuters in Athens without most public transportation. State-run schools,
tax offices and municipalities all shut down and public hospitals limped
by using emergency staff.

In the capital, some 50,000 people marched through central Athens to
protest spending cuts already imposed. The march itself was peaceful, with
scuffles taking place after it ended, and comes after public opinion polls
suggest many Greeks actually recognize the necessity of painful measures.

But Wednesday was the day for the unions to push back.

"We're all here for the same reason: the measures the government is
taking. They have to listen to us," said musician Dimitris Petridis, who
marched banging a snare drum with colleagues to a funereal rhythm.

"The rise in joblessness has really hurt us. The daily wage for working at
a nightclub, for many of us, is the same as it was 20 years ago," he

As the peaceful march ended, riot police clashed and fired tear gas at
scores of anarchist youths in the latest sign of unrest in recession-hit
European countries. Groups of youths vandalized banks and storefronts,
hurling rocks, red paint and plastic bottles near parliament. Three people
were arrested.

Windows were also smashed at the Finance Ministry's General Accounting
Office, which has been accused by the European Union of faking statistics
for years to hide Greece's dire situation.

Greece is considering tougher austerity measures to ward off a financial
crisis that has undermined the euro currency used by 16 European nations.
Its troubles have raised fears that financial market contagion will spread
to other weak eurozone economies such as Portugal, Spain and Italy.

The pressure on the Greek government to deliver on its promise to rein in
the country's borrowing levels ratcheted up further Wednesday with the
news that Standard & Poor's, one of the three leading credit ratings
agencies, could downgrade its rating on the country within a month.

The EU has issued a vague promise to support Greece, which has some euro53
billion ($72 billion) in debt coming due this year, but Prime Minister
George Papandreou's new Socialist government has pressed for more specific
guarantees to shore up market confidence.

Greece has already imposed broad spending cuts but says it is under
pressure from the EU to cut salaries in the civil service. Unions say
cutting Greeks' so-called 14th salary — part of annual pay held back as a
holiday bonus — for public workers would be taken as "an act of war."

"If all these measures are enforced, unemployment will skyrocket. Our
country will enter a massive recession and unemployment will reach a
Europe-wide record," union spokesman Stathis Anestis said. "This will be
tragic because it will provoke social (unrest) and clashes."

Officials from the EU and International Monetary Fund are in Athens to
inspect public finances, ahead of a March 16 deadline to show signs of
fiscal improvement or face imposed additional austerity measures.

Greece has promised the EU it will reduce the bloated budget deficit from
12.7 percent of gross domestic product to 8.7 percent this year. The
country's woes have caused the euro to sink against the dollar and hiked
the country's borrowing costs.

Greek unemployment hit a five-year high of 10.6 percent in November 2009,
up from 9.8 percent in October.

S&P said it was maintaining its current rating on Greece's long-term debt
of BBB+ but was monitoring the situation closely.

"In our view, a further downgrade of one to two notches is possible within
a month," said Standard & Poor's credit analyst Marko Mrsnik.

A two-notch downgrade would take S&P's rating on Greece to BBB- — the
lowest level accepted by the European Central Bank as collateral for
loans. Moody's current rating on Greece is A2, although that may be
lowered soon.

Elsewhere in Europe, other workers fearing job threats also took action
this week.

In France, a strike by air traffic controllers disrupted flights for a
second day Wednesday. In Spain, tens of thousands of demonstrators rallied
Tuesday to protest a government proposal to raise the retirement age by
two years to 67.

In Germany, over 4,000 Lufthansa pilots held a strike Monday to demand
greater job security, causing travel chaos across Europe as over 800
flights were canceled.


AP Business Writer Pan Pylas contributed to this report from London.

Friday, February 19, 2010

[olympiaworkers] New week of strikes in Greece Feb 16 2010

Customs officers, petrol carrying lorries, taxi drivers and Ministry of
Economics workers go on strike this week against the austerity measures.

After the end of the bleakest carnival since the collapse of the junta, a
new wave of strikes is threatening to bring Greece to a standstill.

Customs officers have once again gone on strike in protest to the
austerity measures. The strike lasting from today (Tuesday 16) to Thursday
18 of February is going to see all export-import activities in the country
come to a halt. In combination with the 3-day strike of customs officers
starting today, the announcement of a 24h strike for Friday by
petrol-carrying lorry drivers (who warn that they may extend their strike
into the weekend) is expected to create serious fueling problems to the
country. Already yesterday (a national holiday) long lines of cars tried
to secure fuel in the few open stations across greece. The 1,300 lorry
drivers are striking against the tax reforms introduced as part of the
austerity measures. Also some 3,500 public-service lorries and truck
drivers are warning they might join the strike on Friday in response to
the austerity measures. Taxi drivers have also announced a new 24-h strike
for Friday.

At the same time public sector workers employed under the umbrella of the
Ministry of Economics have gone today on a 4-day strike against the
austerity measures. The sectors that will subsequently see a week-long
freeze (as last Monday was a national holiday) include: the State Chemical
Lab (central FDA premises), the State Accounting Office, the National
Statistical Bureau, the State Loans Office, the Capital-Market State
Committee and all the central services of the Ministry of Economics and
the Ministry of Finance. In short, all state-related transactions apart
from the tax office will be halted.

The strikes come as warning of further austerity measures are aired in the
bourgeois media who have launched a sustained propaganda campaign against
the strikers.

On other news from greece:

In the city of Volos workers of the METKA heavy industry complex
successfully blockaded the factory's gates this morning in a first act of
resistance to the vengeful lay-off of three syndicalist workers. The
industrial action has received the solidarity of Private Education Workers
of Patras.

In Salonica a large anarchist protest march took to the streets of Tumba
in response to a fascist attack on Fabrika Yfanet, the country's largest
squat. The fascists sneaked into the massive squat and after
unsuccessfully trying to set fire on its residential section tried to
attack the assembly hall where people were holding a meeting. The fascists
were soon led to a retreat but at the point of exiting the squat chasing
them, the squatters were attacked by riot police forces in what seems to
be a highly coordinated operation of terror.

In Athens, in the early hours of Tuesday, in what the media claim to be a
rare standoff between the police and urban guerrillas, while trying to
check the passengers of a car, two policemen were immobilized and robbed
of their guns and bullet-proof jackets. Despite extended manhunt and
sustain road blockades the suspects were not apprehended. The incident
comes as yet another embarrassment to the greek police.

Finally, an uprising occurred on Monday at the central police station of
Tripoli. After a Palestinian refugee jailed in the premises tried to kill
himself his inmates set fire to the police department causing its
evacuation. The uprising has been repressed by use of riot-police forces.

Feb 16 2010 10:05

Update: According to the bourgeois media the customs officer strike has
caused panic to drivers across the country with long car-lines at petrol
stations. Many stations have already run out of fuel, while the rest have
set an limit of 30E purchase per customer in order to avoid stocking-up
and uneven distribution. The climate of panic is expected to peak in the
following days with the start of the petrol-lorry drivers strike.

At the same time, the Ministry of Development is holding talks with the
last standing farmer's blockade in Promahonas (the one blocking the main
Greek-Bulgarian border crossing). The borders will remain open during the
talks to de-congest hundreds of cars fixed at the borders. The farmers of
Promahonas are the last to hold on to their blockade despite the dirty war
waged against them. The latter included the decision of the Greek Red
Cross to abandon the blockading farmers in sub-zero temperatures without
medical support "because they would not negotiate with the government".
The decision was taken by the Chief of the Greek Red Cross Mr Martinis,
one of the most corrupt doctors in the country who had recently sent
parastate thugs against the occupiers of the Drakopoulos Park which the
Red Cross and the Municipality of Athens wanted to turn into yet another
parking lot.

Feb 16 2010 17:51

Update2: A 24h all-worker strike for the 18th of February has been called
at the city of Volos in response to the above mentioned lay-off of three
syndicalist workers at the heavy industry unit of METKA. The strike has
been called by the Labour Centre of the city, the oldest in the country.

At the same time, workers organised under the Union of Mining Stations of
the National Electric Company (DEH) in Megalopolis occupied for three
hours the headquarters of the DEH, reacting to a decision by the
government to freeze hiring of new stuff. The workers have warned of a
climax of labour action if the measures are not reversed.

Meanwhile in Athens during a battle between the police and two men who are
believed to be involved in the earlier stand-off described in the original
post above (an information not yet verified by ballistics), one bystander
construction worker lost his life by a bullet. The battle unfolded in the
eastern suburb of Byronas. Two policemen have been hospitalised with heavy
hand-grenade injuries, while the two men have been arrested. Media reports
claim that they turned out to be not urban guerrillas but wanted bank

Feb 16 2010 19:23

Update3: At 19:50 local time, a bomb exploded at the Athens headquarters
of JPMorgan. The explosion has caused severe material damage but no human
injuries as there was a 30-minute warning call to the press so that the
building is evacuated. The blast took place in Kolonaki, Athens' most
exclusive and heavily guarded area. No guerrilla group has yet claimed
responsibility for the attack.

Feb 17 2010 13:54

Update4: Pharmacists have announced a 24h strike for Monday 22 of February
across Greece in response to the austerity measures. They warn this is
only a warning strike. At the same time trolley-bus drivers in Athens have
announced a six hour stoppage between 11:00 and 16:00 for Friday as a
first move against the austerity measures. The stoppage is expected to
create big problems in the capital as taxi-drivers have also called a 24h
strike for the day.

Meanwhile, workers of the prestigious Agra publishing house have called an
24h strike in response to the lay-off of a fellow-worker. At the same time
the customs officers strike has created severe lack of fuel (more than 50%
of stations have run out) on the island of Crete. Finally, the killing of
the 25 year old father by police bullets during the battle in Byronas has
caused widespread public dismay, especially after the chief of police
called the operation "successful" and the Minister of Public Order refused
to acknowledge any blame for the police, insisting instead to introduce an
extra motorised force of 2,000 men in the capital. In a rare moral
contrast, the wounded bank-robber of Albanian descent has offered to cover
all expenses for the dead man's baby-orphan until adulthood.

Feb 17 2010 19:43

Upadate5: The first day of the trial of Alexandros Grigoropoulos murderers
after the restart of the trial ended today with tension building between
the forensics doctor who sat as a witness and the lawyer of the cops. The
doctor described his autopsy of the crime in detail enraging the defense
lawyer who claimed the evidence presented are false. The killed boy's
mother refused to testify due to psychological stress.

On other news, a new bomb exloded today in Athens, this time at the
political office of the Minister of Public Order Mr Chrisochoidis. The
explosion occurred despite efforts of the police to diffuse the bomb by
means of a controlled explosion. The bomb has caused material damages to
the office but no human injuries. The majority of the bourgeois media are
trying to hide the police gaffe, while at the same time downplaying
yesterday's guerrilla attack at the heart of the greek capitalist-statist

Greece running out of fuel as customs officers extend strike

Feb 19 2010 09:25

"Gas No-more", typical sign across greece's petrol stations

Serious fuel shortages are spreading across Greece as customs officers
decide to extend their strike against austerity measures until Tuesday.

Long lines of cars are to be seen in petrol stations across greece as fuel
is running out after an extension of customs officers industrial action
against the neoliberal austerity measures imposed by the government on the
pretext of the national credit crisis. Initially the strike which began
last Tuesday 16 February was to end on Friday 19, but customs officers
have announced its extension to Tuesday 23 causing panic to drivers and a
headache to the government. According to the bourgeois media, half the
stations in and around Athens have already run out of unleaded, with the
depots of the rest expected to empty within the day. The only city that
has evaded the problem due to extended deposits is Salonica. Mr Kiousis,
the petrol station union president has claimed that already across the
country 85% of petrol stations are completely dry.

The extension of the strike means that all imports and exports have come
to a standstill and customs will again open on Thursday 25th, after the
24h general strike of the previous day. Meanwhile workers of the Ministry
of Economics continue to strike, blocking the entrance to the Ministry
even to the Minister himself who has to accommodate him self in the
premises of other ministries in order to perform his publicly hated deals
with the EU.

At the same time, the government's face is at a new all time low after the
police shooting of a 25 year old plumber during a battle with alleged bank
robbers in the eastern suburbs of Byronas. According to ballistics the
unlucky worker was hit 9 times at the back and the head, all by police
bullets, as he was trying to take refuge at an engine-shop. According to
neighbours, while shooting the bystander, the cops yelled "I 'ate' the
motherfucker". The brutal killing of the father of an 18 month old baby
has fueled public dismay towards the police, now even more perceived as a
gang of armed maniacs. The impression was worsened by the police chief of
Athens claiming the operation was "successful" with the Minister of Public
Order insisting that the only solution to such incidents is more and more
armed police. The Byronas tragedy has come as a blow to the credibility of
the greek government as a whole since it has recently gone public saying,
as a response of financial and labour fears concerning the crisis, "If we
cannot guarantee anything else, we can guarantee your security". The
credibility of the police has been further eroded as a result of two bombs
that have damaged the headquarters of JP Morgan in Athens and the
political office of the Minister of Public Order in Peristeri. The former
explosion occurred in Athens' most heavily guarded quarter, Kolonaki,
while the latter occurred despite efforts of police to destroy the bomb by
means of a controlled explosion.

On other news from the labour struggle front, workers mobilisation against
the layoff of a worker at the prestigious arty publishing house Agra are
continuing apparently causing panic to its bosses who like to portray
themselves as progressives, to the extent that they have taken recourse to
publishing letters of support to the lay-off (!) by a series of well-known
artists and authors, the vanguard of the Spectacle of culture in greece.
The union of workers of the book and printed material sector has gone on a
48h strike over the lay-off with persistent demos outside
Agra's offices and main bookstore in Exarcheia.

Finally, pharmacists have announced a 24h warning strike against the
austerity measures for Monday 22 of February.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

[olympiaworkers] Carrefour delivery drivers strike Feb 18 2010

Supermarket giant Carrefour was faced with empty shelves in its stores
across Belgium on Wednesday after a strike by delivery drivers.

The drivers work for Supertransport, a subcontractor of Logistics Ternat
which runs the distribution centre that supplies Carrefour's supermarkets
and hypermarkets in Belgium. Carrefour is distancing itself from the
dispute claiming that it is an internal issue for the two companies to
resolve. There were empy shelves across the store with the company unable
to ensure that 34% of its products were in stock.

The workers are striking over two seperate grievances. The contract with
Carrefour expires in June and workers were seeking assurances about their
jobs. Workers took the action ahead of Carrefour's planned press
conference on the future of the depot on the 24th of February. Workers
succeeded in winning assurances that if the site were to be closed that
they would be transferred to one of the company's other depots.

The second grievance was over the firing of six dispatchers after the
introduction of a new computer system. According to a union spokesman the
company has promised that 'a solution will be found as soon as possible'
although it has given no concrete assurances about these workers' jobs.
The union CGSLB also won recognition for three of its members as union

Monday, February 15, 2010

[olympiaworkers] Somerset postal workers walk out over suspensions Feb 15 2010

100 Royal Mail workers walked out on unofficial strike on 9 February
against the suspension of two colleagues.

This is Somerset reported that More than 100 postal workers in Somerset
staged a wildcat walkout yesterday in a row over the suspension of two
colleagues and threatened cuts.

Employees at the Bridgwater Delivery Office, one of the biggest in the
West, took to the picket line in a bid to force a rethink on the issue by
Royal Mail.

The row centres on allegations facing two members of delivery staff – one
has been accused of intimidation by a colleague and the other is subject
to a customer complaint.

But workers are also fearful of plans to cut 240 hours of work from the
Bridgwater team, leaving many out of pocket or working part-time.

Phil Greenslade, who represents the Communication Workers Union for the
Bridgwater branch, said the workforce was not comfortable with the way the
individuals had been treated. He added that morale over yet more possible
cuts to services was extremely low.

He said: "People are not happy with the way these investigations are being
carried out and we feel Royal Mail is taking a very heavy-handed approach.

"We feel they are trying to get rid of people unnecessarily and however
they can.

"These allegations have not been proven, we do not agree with what they
have been accused of and this could all have been dealt with internally
before the option of suspending the two postmen on full pay was taken."

The protest was over almost as soon as it had begun, with staff returning
to work after an hour-and-a-half, but the union will now seek a ballot for
strike action.

Mr Greenslade said workers were anxious about the branch managers'
business plan which proposes the future cuts.

He said: "We have been through so many rounds of this already and this
will mean work being taken away from people and others going part-time.
They are not filling vacancies at the moment so it means we all have to
work harder for less."

Dave Wilshire, CWU Bristol and District branch secretary, added that the
union had taken the steps to strike because it felt the suspensions marked
a heavy-handed approach to discipline.

He said: "We hope Royal Mail will ensure there is a quick and fair
investigation and make sure the disciplinary process isn't used in a
punitive and excessive manner."

A Royal Mail spokesman said: "Staff at the Royal Mail Bridgwater Delivery
Office took unofficial industrial action for just over an hour this
morning following the suspension of two delivery staff at the site. We are
confident deliveries will be completed although customers will receive
mail later than normal and Royal Mail apologises for any inconvenience

Sunday, February 14, 2010

[olympiaworkers] South Africa: Union, ABI settle strike following big online campaign]

Date: Sun, February 14, 2010

A few weeks ago I wrote to ask all of you to sign up to support
striking workers at ABI in South Africa. Many of you did so and today
I'm very pleased to report that the union and company have reached an
agreement thanks in part our international solidarity action.

The agreement includes a 7.8% across-the-board pay increase, an
increase in the education allowance, and a settlement on overtime pay.
The two parties have also agreed to discuss the use of labour brokers,
with the union reserving its right to campaign on this issue. Workers
who participated in the strike, and who were threatened with legal
action, are now protected.

The union general secretary is quoted as thanking the "many IUF
members and supporters whose solidarity and messages to ABI management
contributed to the final settlement".

Full details are here <>

Online campaigns work!

Please make sure you've signed up to both the current LabourStart
campaigns <>

And please pass this message on to your fellow union members.


Eric Lee

Saturday, February 13, 2010

[olympiaworkers] Pizza Time Strike Remembered

On Friday Feb. 12, 2010, a small group of people braved the rain to
remember the Olympia Pizza Time Strike of 2005. Pizza strike supporters
held a banner at 4th and Jefferson streets demanding a "Living Wage,
Health Care, Retirement, Paid Vacation, Sick Days… For All." People who
drove and walked by the banner generally agreed with it, while one guy
said "go to Canada!" Participants noted that working conditions haven't
improved since the strike and lock-out happened five years ago. One pizza
worker who went on strike lamented that the current Pizza Time workers and
most of the workers in Olympia and elsewhere don't have any of the
benefits listed on the banner, and can still be fired without cause.

Check out Pizza Time Strike history at:

On Feb. 12, 2005 all the Pizza Time workers in Olympia walked off the job
after presenting a list of demands to the new owner to improve working
conditions and reinstate two wrongly fired co-workers. When the owner
failed to meet these demands the workers created a daily protest at 4th
and Jefferson streets in downtown Olympia. With community support, Olympia
Pizza Time closed down after eight days of picketing.

In Aug of 2005, former repo-man Heath Flores bought the Olympia Pizza Time
franchise and locked out the striking workers. Heath used various
intimidation tactics including suing the workers in federal court, while
playing the victim in the situation to bust the strike. Heath bought off
the replacement workers with a futon and air conditioner to keep them
loyal and working. Heath even fake cried during one meeting with the
striking workers. By this time most of the striking pizza workers had
other jobs but wanted to establish a grassroots union that could improve
working conditions at Pizza Time and elsewhere in Olympia. The Pizza Time
strikers remain locked out five years later.

The effort to create a local grassroots union was attacked from all angles
and nipped in the bud here in Olympia. Business owners and other labor
unions in particular didn't like the idea. The Olympia Workers Association
(OWA) lasted about two years before becoming the Olympia Workers Resource

Such a union, if active, could drastically alter power relations in town.
Business owners would have to deal with their workers as an organized body
that could shut down their business at any time instead of people that can
be replaced individually and fired without cause. The threat of workers
getting together and taking action together is that they will start
demanding health care and retirement benefits, sick days and safe working
conditions, paid vacation and a living wage. Workers will start to demand
that they have a say in how the business is run. The dictatorship at work
would be broken if such a union existed.

Right now is as good of time as ever to get organized with the people you
work with. Form a union where decisions are made directly by workers and
any worker can join. Then stand up for each other. Working conditions
won't get better until you do.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

[olympiaworkers] Greek unions strike over deficit-slashing measures

By ELENA BECATOROS and AOIFE WHITE, Associated Press Wed Feb 10, 2010

ATHENS, Greece – Greek workers shut down schools, grounded flights and
walked out of hospitals Wednesday to protest austerity measures brought on
by the nation's staggering debt, as European leaders wrangled over whether
and how to come to the country's financial rescue.

Greece's prime minister headed to a European Union summit where leaders
will take up the debt crisis Thursday. Greece's fiscal problems have
shaken the euro and underscored the interconnectedness of the global

European stocks rose on hopes for a rescue plan that might take pressure
off other struggling eurozone countries such as Portugal and Spain, but it
is unclear what wealthier EU nations will do to help Greece.

The EU's largest economies, Germany and France, are ready to offer their
support to Greece at the summit but will wait to see if other countries
join the effort, a French diplomatic official said in a briefing ahead of
the summit. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of
the sensitivity of the issue, did not provide specifics.

"Here's the message: we are behind Greece," the official said. "I don't
think (financial) aid needs to be extended to Greece tomorrow; I think a
message needs to be given to markets that we will know how to resolve the
Greek question."

Officials in Germany said there is no urgent need for a bailout at the
moment and that "no decision on such help" is imminent. They also said EU
rules prohibited them from guaranteeing another country's debts.

"Of course, we are running through worst-case scenarios," a German
government official said on condition of anonymity. "Greece has to present
a credible volume of cuts. Agreement on that would be an important signal
from tomorrow's summit."

The head of France's national assembly, Bernard Accoyer, said that
European countries must show solidarity with Greece.

"The reality is obvious to everyone. The issue is not to let Greece go
bankrupt," he said.

Greece came under intense EU pressure to slash spending after it revealed
a massive and previously undeclared budget shortfall last year that
continues to rattle financial markets and the euro, the currency shared by
16 EU members. Its deficit spiraled to more than 12 percent of economic
output — more than four times the eurozone limit — in 2009.

Prime Minister George Papandreou's new government has announced sweeping
spending cuts that will freeze salaries and new hiring, cut bonuses and
stipends and increase the average retirement age by two years to 63. The
government also announced new taxes, which it insists will increase the
burden on the rich but safeguard the poor.

European governments, initially reluctant to help Greece out of a crisis
it created itself, now appear ready to help after market concerns
intensified in recent days, dragging the euro down to an eight-month low
against the U.S. dollar and hitting stocks worldwide.

European stocks closed up Wednesday, and the spread, or interest rate
difference, between Greek and benchmark German bonds narrowed, indicating
that fears of Greek default in the bond market are waning.

Stephen Lewis, an analyst at Monument Securities, said financial markets
"are taking it for granted that support will be forthcoming and would
probably react negatively if the summit's outcome fell short of

If Greece were near default, it would hurt the euro, harm Europe's already
battered banking system and raise borrowing costs for governments across
the continent, and the aftershocks would be felt on Wall Street and in
markets around the world.

Papandreou, who was in Paris on Wednesday to meet French President Nicolas
Sarkozy, insisted that Athens is not asking for a bailout.

"We have not asked for help," he told Greek reporters in a briefing after
his meeting with Sarkozy. "We have said that we just want you to support
our will, the credibility of our country in the implementation of this

Speaking earlier, Papandreou insisted that his proposed austerity measures
will be fully implemented. "We are ready to take any necessary measures to
make sure the deficit goal is met," he said.

Papandreou's Socialists came to power last October and enjoy a strong
legislative majority. He has faced pressure from unions, with civil
servants walking off the job Wednesday in the first tangible widespread
backlash against the new austerity measures.

"It's a war against workers and we will answer with war, with constant
struggles until this policy is overturned," said Christos Katsiotis, a
representative of a communist-party affiliated labor union.

Yet despite the harsh rhetoric, turnout for demonstrations was relatively
low, with fewer than 10,000 strikers and retirees braving windy, drizzly
weather in Athens. Another 3,000 people showed up for two rallies in
Thessaloniki, Greece's second-largest city. Greece has seen tens of
thousands of people take to the streets in the past.

The subdued response suggests that many Greeks believe urgent action is
needed to save the economy.

"It's clear that the country is on the verge of bankruptcy, and if this
negative dynamic isn't controlled, we're going to pay a huge social and
financial price," said political analyst and publisher Giorgos Kyrtsos.

One weekend newspaper survey showed 70 percent of Greeks backed
Papandreou's call to cut the pay and perks of the country's roughly 27,000
civil servants, although they opposed measures that would affect them
individually such as new taxes or a higher retirement age.

"Everyone accepts the measures that don't affect them," Kyrtsos said.
"When they see that their family budget or their personal budget is
affected, then they react."

So a broader backlash could be yet to come. A strike much broader than
Wednesday's is planned for Feb. 24.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

[olympiaworkers] Shipping traffic halted by wildcat strike in Finland Feb 5 2010

More than half of Finland's was brought to a standstill on Tuesday 2
February by a wildcat strike by 1000 stevedores in seven ports.

The Swedish Wire reported:
"Seven ports have informed us that operations are at a standstill and
workers have gone on an illegal strike," Juha Mutru, chief executive of
the Finnish Port Operators Association, told AFP.

"Container traffic is more or less at a standstill, and more than half of
Finland's freight traffic has ground to a halt," he said.

About half of all goods transported in and out of export-reliant Finland
pass through the ports of Helsinki and Kotka, where employees are
participating in the one-day strike, Mutru said.

Some 1,000 workers walked off the job Tuesday to "speed up labour
negotiations," a spokeswoman for the transport workers' union said.

Following a breakdown of labour talks, the union on Monday set a deadline
of February 19 to reach an agreement on a new collective labour contract.

It warned stevedores in all of Finland's 25 ports it would strike if no
deal was reached by then.

In addition to Helsinki and Kotka, the ports affected by Tuesday's strikes
include Turku, Uusikaupunki, Hanko, Kokkola and Naantali. Mutru said that
the port of Rauma had announced a one-day strike for Wednesday.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

[olympiaworkers] Summary of the global day of protest in solidarity with FAU Berlin Feb 3 2010

On january 29/30, 2010, there were protests in at least 52 cities in 20
countries against a verdict that prohibits workers in Berlin from
affiliating themselves with the union of their choice. The bosses at the
Babylon Mitte Cinema managed to find a court to ban the FAU Berlin workers
association from calling itself a union and are now trying to get the FAU
Berlin charged with fines or even imprisoned. The is a month-long labor
dispute between the FAU shop-floor and the management. More information
about the conflict can be found at the FAU German language special section
and our English language special section.

We received reports about protests at Aachen (Germany), Berlin (Germany),
Bonn (Germany), Darmstadt (Germany), Duisburg (Germany), Düsseldorf
(Germany), Frankfurt/M (Germany), Halle/Saale (Germany), Hamburg
(Germany), Hannover (Germany), Karlsruhe (Germany), Kassel (Germany), Kiel
(Germany), Leipzig (Germany), Moers (Germany), Münster (Germany), Nürnberg
(Germany), Recklinghausen (Germany), Schwerin (Germany), Alicante (Spain),
Athen (Greece), Barcelona (Spain), Bern (Switzerland), Bilbao (Spain),
Bratislava (Slovakia), Brüssel (Belgium), Dhaka (Bangladesh), Dublin
(Irland), Florenz (Italy), Granada (Spain), Göteborg (Sweden), Jerez
(Spain), Katrineholm (Sweden), Kiev (Ukrainia), Kopenhagen (Denmark),
Liverpool (UK), London (UK), Madrid (Spain), Malaga (Spain), Marseille
(France), Oslo (Norway), Philadelphia (USA), Phoenix (USA), Thessaloniki
(Greece), Fukuoka (Japan), Triest (Italy), Valencia (Spain), Wellington
(New Zealand), Wien (Austria), Zaragoza (Spain) so far.

We'd like to thank all those of you in Germany and all around the planet
who expressed their solidarity with the FAU Berlin, and their disgust with
the management of the Babylon Mitte Cinema and the scandalous verdicts of
the Berlin courts. We are deeply touched that we have been the cause of
one of the biggest waves of international solidarity within the
anti-authoritarian workers movement in the the past years. We also would
like to thank all those in Germany and other corners of the planet who
took action but did not send in reports. And of course those like the
Freeters union in Japan, who will take action in the coming days. The
struggle has just begun. We were therefore glad to hear that many more
unions and organisations - though they did not manage to do anything this
time - have announced that they will take action next time. For reports
and any further information please contact

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

[olympiaworkers] Pizza Time Strike 5 Year Anniversary Feb. 12

The Pizza Time strike 5 year anniversary is coming up Feb. 12.
Come out to remember workers struggling for better working conditions in

Meet Friday Feb. 12 at noon at 4th and Jefferson in downtown Olympia to
show support for local workers.

Check out Pizza Time Strike history at:

On Feb. 12, 2005 all the Pizza Time workers in Olympia walked off the job
after presenting a list of demands to the new owner to improve working
conditions and reinstate two wrongly fired co-workers. When the owner
failed to meet these demands the workers created a daily protest at 4th
and Jefferson streets in downtown Olympia. With community support, Olympia
Pizza Time closed down after eight days of picketing.

In Aug of 2005, former repo-man Heath Flores bought the Olympia Pizza Time
franchise and locked out the striking workers. Heath used various
intimidation tactics including suing the workers in federal court, while
playing the victim in the situation to bust the strike. Heath bought off
the replacement workers with a futon and air conditioner to keep them
loyal and working. Heath even fake cried during one meeting with the
striking workers. By this time most of the striking pizza workers had
other jobs but wanted to establish a grassroots union that could improve
working conditions at Pizza Time and elsewhere in Olympia. The Pizza Time
strikers remain locked out five years later.

The effort to create a local grassroots union was attacked from all angles
and nipped in the bud here in Olympia. Business owners and other labor
unions in particular didn't like the idea. The Olympia Workers Association
(OWA) lasted about two years before becoming the Olympia Workers Resource

Such a union, if active, could drastically alter power relations in town.
Business owners would have to deal with their workers as an organized body
that could shut down their business at any time instead of people that can
be replaced individually and fired without cause. The threat of workers
getting together and taking action together is that they will start
demanding health care and retirement benefits, sick days and safe working
conditions, paid vacation and a living wage. Workers will start to demand
that they have a say in how the business is run. The dictatorship at work
would be broken if such a union existed.

Right now is as good of time as ever to get organized with the people you
work with. Form a union where decisions are made directly by workers and
any worker can join. Then stand up for each other. Working conditions
won't get better until you do.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

[olympiaworkers] "No margin for blockades or strikes" announces the Greek PM before tide of labour action Feb 1 2010

Greek farmers blockade the Bulgarian border, 2009

A week before the start of a tide of labour action, the Greek Socialist PM
Papandreou the Third has announced him government sees "no margin for
blockades and strikes".

The Greek PM and leader of the Socialist Party (PASOK) and the Socialist
International, George Papandreou has once again revealed the real face of
his government by announcing that there are no "margins for blockades and
strikes". The announcement came in Parliament in a speech rife with
conspiracy theories about a combined speculators and foreign press war
against greece which is supposedly undermining the country's sovereignty.
Using PASOK's old populist anti-imperialist discourse salted with
technocratic frill, the PM talked about a threat for "the people's
sacrifices to been blown for ever to the wind". The populist rhetoric came
combined with the proposal of a new electorate system that would deprive
citizens from choosing their MPs, who would be instead chosen by the
parties after the election results.

The pathetic combination of populism and technocratism that is the
trademark of PASOK comes in full force as the farmers blockades enter
their third week. Although only 15 out of the 30 original blockades
remain, these are composed purely of independent farmers who have
repudiated the official unions. For this reason they are despised by the
bourgeois press as "anarcho-autonomous" and by the Ministry of Agriculture
as "anarchosyndicalists". At the same time the greek government is under
pressure by an approaching tide of labour action, starting with the
February 10 strike of all private employees (ADEDY). Already dozens of
strikes have been announced for February. Meanwhile, dozens of attacks
against state and capitalist targets in Athens and Salonica are troubling
the forces of repression. The targets have included UN vehicles, the
political office of the ex-PM Mr Costas Simitis, political offices of the
Conservative Party, banks and many expensive cars. The disruption caused
by such attacks is augmented by the persistent farce calls for bombs
(approximately two every day according to the media in Athens alone) which
cause state buildings and all surrounding streets evacuated for hours.

The climate of tension in expectation of the announcement of harsh
economic measures is further embittered by an extreme-right campaign
against the proposed citizenship for 250,000 second generation immigrants.
The coordination of extreme-right organisations and parties, combined with
the arrest of the 44 fascists last week, and the imprisonment of one of
them (an editor of a newspaper previously funded by the colonels' junta,
and convicted aggressor) resulted last Saturday to an unusually massive
fascist march in Athens. The fascists plan to repeat their show of power
in the coming Saturday, this time using as their demo starting grounds the
Propylea academic asylum, a symbolic disgrace for a century of struggles.

The trial of the murderers of Alexandros Grigoropoulos in Amfissa has been
postponed due to the death of the mother of the Public Prosecutor.

[olympiaworkers] Victory for SeaSol and tenants at Kasota Feb 1 2010

Tenants fight back against rent increases and win relocation assistance

Not long before Christmas, Sound Mental Health (SMH), the property
managers of downtown Seattle's Kasota apartments, began going door to door
in the building trying to get tenants to sign a new lease. SMH houses both
mentally ill 'clients' and roughly seventeen low-income tenants at the
Kasota, but the new lease seemed to indicate that they wanted that to
change. The terms of the new lease for SMH's non-client tenants included
rent increases of as much as fifty percent as well as a demand for further
deposits. Many of the low-income residents of the Kasota are dependent on
Social Security and other fixed incomes for survival and cannot afford to
pay rent increases of this magnitude. They were outraged as it became
apparent that the terms of the new lease would drive them from their homes
and out into the street. For many residents the new lease would mean
desperation and homelessness. It was at this point that one tenant saw a
Seattle Solidarity Network (SeaSol) poster and decided to start fighting

In their first meeting with SeaSol the tenants decided that if SMH wanted
them out of the Kasota so badly, they would make a pact: unless and until
each and every one of them has received adequate relocation assistance,
none of them will pay the increased rent or voluntarily vacate the
building. Most felt that relocation would be the best solution as the
Kasota had gone downhill ever since SMH took over in spring of 2009. SMH
had failed to make long promised improvements to the apartments, and there
had been two fires and one flood during that time. While the tenants make
it clear that they hold nothing against their neighbors, they do resent
the fact that SMH has repeatedly failed to provide them with safe living

On December 28th eight Kasota tenants and twenty-two other SeaSol'ers
formally delivered the tenants' demand in mass at SMH's offices on Capitol
Hill. Two days later SMH posted notices on every tenant's door promising
to make much needed repairs, draw up new leases which would not raise the
rent by more than 10%, and consider providing relocation assistance.
Despite these conciliatory promises, the very next day SMH celebrated New
Years Eve by retaliating against the tenants who had decided to fight
back. SMH posted three-day Pay or Vacate notices on many tenants' doors,
even though only a few of them actually owed any back rent. It seemed that
SMH was moving to reconcile with one hand while reaching out to strangle
with the other. Nonetheless, the tenants stood strong and told SMH to stop
these intimidation tactics immediately and begin negotiating in good
faith, or they would have to take further action in conjunction with

Sound Mental Health seems to have realized it had to take the tenants'
unity seriously. On January 14th, in a letter delivered to Kasota
Apartments residents and to media, SMH announced that it would fully meet
the tenants' and SeaSol's demands. Any non-SMH-client resident who wants
to move out of the building will receive $3,000 in relocation assistance.
Any who choose to stay will see a rent increase of no more than 10% over
the next year.

This is a huge victory for the low-income tenants at the Kasota who had
been facing $200 rent hikes and, until a few days ago, were under threat
of eviction and in danger of homelessness. Most plan on moving as soon as
possible, now that they'll have the money to afford it.

Their victory took courage, as they kept fighting in the face of eviction
threats and intimidation. It also took unity, as they insisted on sticking
together when management tried to divide them and deal with each
individual separately. They couldn't have done it alone. Thanks to
everyone who came out on December 28th to help the Kasota tenants - and
SeaSol - win this fight.

SeaSol is a mutual support network of workers and tenants who use direct
action to fight injustices caused by their employers and landlords. If you
have a problem with your job or housing, or you want to help others in
their fights, maybe you should contact... Seattle Solidarity Network.