Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Workers in Greece go on strike on November 26th: Statement by the All-Workers Militant Front (PAME)

While Greece is in the midst of Covid-19 pandemic crisis, with a nationwide lockdown imposed, the conservative government of New Democracy (ND) escalates the policies of authoritarianism and anti-labor measures. 
The government not only failed to protect the country from the second wave of the pandemic, but follows a policy that focuses on the protection of business groups' profitability rather than the health of the working people. 

On Thursday 26th of November, the country's workers respond to the anti-labor, anti-people policy of the government by organizing a nationwide strike. In statement, the All-Workers Militant Front (PAME) points out:

Under The Masks We Have A Voice And We Claim

We demand Immediate Measures to Protect the People’s Health- Requisition of Private Health Structures- Immediate Measures to Protect Our Lives and Our Rights

Now is the critical moment for the workers, our people to speak. Do not tolerate our voice being silenced anymore. Stop the arguments that blame the people for everything that happen. Now we have to give a collective, massive, militant response.

On November 26, we strike! To protect our lives, our health, our rights from the brutal attack of government and business groups.

The resolute stance of the unions and workers broke in practice the prohibitions and the authoritarianism of the government with their participation in the mobilizations organized throughout Greece for the celebration of the November 17 Polytechnic Uprising. They canceled the plan to “freeze” the struggles and demands of the people for the protection of their life and health.

The government failed to stop us, despite the orgy of repression in Athens, Thessaloniki and other cities. This proved that the organized people, the struggle of the unions have the power to put strong obstacles in the anti-popular policy of the government, to pave the way for the satisfaction of our critical and imperative social needs.

In this battle we are not alone. The workers of Italy are on strike on November 25, the workers of India organize all-India Strike also on November 26 and our colleagues in France on December 5 are organizing protests all over France. We stand on their side! We fight the common enemy! We all fight To protect our lives, our health, our rights!

In Greece dozens of people die every day, while hospitals are full as doctors and hospital staffs reveal. Workplaces are health bombs, but the government covers the employers and hides hundreds of workplace cases and workers are exposed both to the pandemic and intensification. But the government is focusing on what big business and their profits demand. Instead of taking measures to protect the lives and health of workers, the government is promoting bills given to them by the Industrialists Association and business groups. Bills that include:

  • 10-hour work, work from morning to night with less than half of the minimum salary
  • “black” uninsured and unpaid work
  • abolition of the Sunday holiday
  • delivery of social security to business groups
  • auctions and seizures of people’s homes

These measures come to strengthen business groups in conditions of capitalist crisis. These are measures that will remain after the pandemic so that the workers remain the “cow” that will feed the profits of capital. That is why the government is taking new measures of repression and authoritarianism, also preparing a new bill that abolishes essential trade union rights and freedoms. 

They want the class unions blocked and for this they want to impose:

  • the abolition of General Assemblies of the Unions
  • electronic voting instead of the participation of the workers themselves with their physical presence
  • delivering of the registry of union Members to the government and employers
  • new obstacles on the decision and organization of the strike

On the other hand, while measures are being taken against the workers and the pandemic is reaping crowds, the GSEE (member of the ETUC in Greece) fully co-signs the bills of the ND Government of Greece and the Industrialists. And also its executives have even intimidated trade unionists in order not to take decisions of participation on the strike on November 26.

PAME calls on all trade unions to take up the responsibility of responding to government and employers. Let no one be left out of this fight. The unions to come in the frontline! By taking all protective measures, let us not allow fear, intimidation, pessimism, to pass into the working class. The message of the Strike to reach everywhere, in every workplace! To resolutely organize the success of the strike on November 26. More workers to enter the fight!

We demand

Immediate state Requisition of ICU beds, hospital beds, diagnostics and laboratory centers of private hospitals. The same should be done with private doctors. Open the hospitals that have closed in recent years.

Immediate reinforcement of the medical staff with mass recruitment of doctors of all specialties and nursing staff. Permanence of all contractors and health care assistants. Immediate reinforcement with personal protective equipment, with materials and infrastructure to fight, so that they do not get sick,. Integration of all health care providers in the category of Hazardous and Unhealthy Occupations

Raise the frequency of public transport routes and recruitment of staff in public transport

Hiring sanitation personnel for schools. Limit of 15 students per class. Provide free everything necessary for teleworking and free internet.

Extraordinary Unemployment Benefit to all the unemployed without terms and conditions.

Cancel all dismissals that took place and all the negative changes in working relations.

Christmas benefit to be given in full and on time. No redundancies, no cuts in employment rights. Workers to fight for their rights.

Give the 13th and 14th pensions to all retirees. Abolish the solidarity contribution and return all retroactive benefits for the main and auxiliary pensions and benefits for all retirees.

As long as the restrictive measures and the lockdown last, there should be an exemption from the bills for electricity, communication, water, gas. No disconnections

Suspension of payments for workers to the State, banks, etc, suspension of auctions and seizures. Cutting and canceling of debts to working and popular families.