Comrades and friends, we will have to begin, with what is in our opinion a premeditated crime, in the refugee camp of Moria, Lesvos.
There is no human being that is not shocked and overwhelmed by the scenes, we all witnessed there. Babies, small children, old people, and women, all sleeping in the streets, the fields and even the graveyards.
We speak about a premeditated crime because the government holds a heavy responsibility for the tragic and dangerous situation that had developed, not only in Lesvos but also in other islands, with their fashioning into modern concentration camps, open prisons and human cages. They knew, from the very beginning that the decrepit and inhuman conditions in the camps were in fact, a ticking time bomb for the imprisoned refugees and immigrants, as well as for the island locals.
The situation in the Moria Refugee Camp had overpassed the limits, long before the COVID pandemic broke out, let alone during its current peak.
Without any further delay, the government must organize the transportation of all refugees and immigrants, maintaining all medical protocols, ensuring hygienic and secure locations for their temporary stay, until proper documentation has been given to them, in order to travel to their countries of destination. Our islands and country will not be turned into a prison of the European Union.
In the light of this situation, we reinstate the following demands:
- The closing and disbandment of all hot spots in the Greek islands.
- Asylum to be given to all people coming from countries at war, civil war clashes, occupation zones or people who are the victims of totalitarian regimes and their lives are being threatened. To this end, the process of granting asylum must be accelerated with the hiring of civil servant personnel.
- For the period of their stay in Greece, refugees and immigrants must be given medical assistance, vaccination, and access for their children to proper education, without the implication of NGOs, through the proper staffing of civil services.
Comrades, friends, and the youth
The government measures that have been passed as bills and those that are to be declared by the prime minister in the upcoming International Exhibition of Salonica will further deteriorate the lives of the working people, who, during this period has been plagued by the COVID pandemic and the anti-workers measures that accompanied it.
The widespread concern that exists for the possibility of a new peak in the COVID cases must raise the alarm, right now. We demand imminent measures for the reinforcement of the Public Health System, as well as for the protection of the workers in their workplace, our children in the educational facilities, the elderly in the rest homes etc.
The new peak in the COVID cases that has been observed lately is not the result of personal irresponsibility, as told by the government. It is the tragic result of political decisions that have turned all medical protocols into rags, for the sake of the profits of the grand hotel units, the big tourist agencies, and the large tourist businesses.
During the last hours, the majority of the new COVID cases come from the workplaces of the near-by prefectures of Thessaloniki, Pella, Imathia and Kilkis, as well as the large factories and industrial workplaces of Athens. This goes to prove the fact that we have been stating, since the beginning of the pandemic: That the first areas of infection of the COVID-19 virus are the places of work and the means of public transport, where no measure for the protection of public health is taken and the medical protocols stop at the gates of the factories. Where no inspections are made and if there are, it is due to complaints and pressure from the workers. These are the places where no tests are performed and the so-called measures, of the government only support the further arbitrariness of the employers.
During these days, where the medical protocols remain “invisible” in a series of workplaces, what is plainly visible is the widespread attack against the worker’s rights, the wages, the hours of the work-shifts and generally the employment contracts. During all those months, the majority of the working people have to climb a true Golgotha. Thousands of lay-offs, counter to the missals and promises for protection by the government, have led thousands of workers into the unemployment, rendering them without work and income. A very large percentage of workers and the self-employed were asked to live with nearly nothing, during this whole period of time. Thousands of workers currently under the state of annulment of employment contracts, have been waiting for a long period to receive the state helping of 534 euros, that only covers a part of their monthly salary. On the other hand, their depts are monthly and their needs daily and for these there is no annulment.
Today, on the eve of the governmental declarations in Salonica, both the government and the employers are planning together to make the emergency measures permanent, beginning from the next day. Every week they add new provisions against the employees. Only last week, they stooped to the level of proposing a provision punishing employees, who enter preemptive quarantine, by charging them with hours of retroactive and unpaid work and are currently discussing the reduction of the Christmas bonus, while at the same time, thousands of workers have not yet received the easter bonus or the vocational bonus, they deserve by law.
It is important to further add something about this despicable law against public demonstrations that the government is beginning to implement, these days. It is rapidly proven that this law was not passed to contain the actions of the “small groups of troublemakers” or to better regulate the traffic and other such lies that filled the media by the Minister of “Citizen Protection” and the government. The law was issued against the syndicates. Let us see to whom did the government send the restraining order this week. The first to receive such an order by the Police were the “heroes” of the Federation of Hospital Doctors. The second was the Federation of Parents and the third, the Federation of Art Workers. However, the workers have given back their own loud message. The phrase “this law will remain on the paper” was turned into action with the massive participation ant the reaction of the workers, in all three cases, exactly as it is going to happen in our large upcoming demonstration. We call to all syndicates and workers to act decisively and shred into pieces this despicable law that was inspired by the practices of a dictatorship.
The period we are in is critical. We must not passively allow the working class to pay, yet again, for their crisis.
The government of ND and the European Union move towards the implementation of anti-workers program SURE, that offers new loans to the member-states and funds for the monopoly groups. By utilizing the pandemic, they aim to impose the logic, that the employers can use the employees whenever they want, however they want, for as long as they want and pay them as much and whenever they want.
The new loans for the business groups, the bankers, the industrialists, the shipowners, the big hotel owners will be demanded to be paid by the workers. People will be demanded to “tighten the belt” and to be stepped in order the profits of the capitalists to be increased fast, as it is demanded for 10 years now with 3 memoranda and hundreds of antiworker laws that have changes the workplaces to a proper jungle for the workers.
In fact, the employers’ associations such as SEV, the shipowners’ union, the bankers and others are asking for other privileges. The business groups in tourism association (SETE) has requested from the government that they will not pay the holiday bonus to the workers, nor other allowances in advance on them not having to pay the workers. So, in other words the workers are paying in order for the Big Hotel owners to give them work.
The new antiworker measures are not exceptions, they are not here due to the pandemic. There were ready in their offices to be voted and they want them to stay and be added to the previous. We should not allow that!
We call every trade union, every trade unionist, all workers. Everyone in the struggle for the daily wage, salary, insurance, pensions for the issues on the workers’ health protection. We should not accept the young workers to live the Middle Ages that they prepare, without working hours, Collective Agreements, insurance, rights. We organize massive, demanding, class struggle. A struggle of overthrow and perspective.
Dear Comrades, yesterday and today the NATO assembly takes place. The falcons already started to fly over the Mediterranean. The trade unions are not indifferent to this huge issue. In the crisis, the imperialists behave like wolves over prey. These are the days that call for popular action and condemnation of the imperialists.
USA, NATO and EU rewrite the borders, the earth, the sea and the air, the energy and freight routes with the blood of the peoples. It is confirmed that the participation of our country in the imperialist organizations, not only cannot guarantee the sovereign rights of the country, but subordinate them to dangerous plans for the benefit of energy groups and other monopolies. The government, as has been revealed, has put its signature on dangerous developments for the peace and sovereignty of the country.
What the people really need is to intensify their struggle against the American military bases that Greece is filled, by the previous and the current government- to disengage the country from all imperialist missions, to free itself from NATO and the EU. No change of borders and the treaties that secure them.
Dear Comrades, We can bring hope in the minds and hearts to overthrow the anti-people policy. We call all the Regional Trade Unions, the Federations, the Trade unions, the working class. By strengthening our unity, against the interests of business, their governments and the union of multinationals, the European Union.
We call on all those who believe that the heart and breath of the working class movement are the workers themselves.
All those who are not accommodated by the logic “does not change anything.”
All those who are not indifferent nor do they want to get used to the images from mass graves in Brazil, the endless deaths in the US and the great capitalist countries of Europe and elsewhere. They are outraged and want to fight against the policy that sacrifices the health and lives of millions for the profits of a handful of people. Their profits are our dead.
All those who feel a just rage for racism and fascism, all those who can not breathe watching the murders of African Americans in the US, the drowning of children in the Aegean ships, the oppression and injustice, the babies sleeping in their arms their mother inside cemeteries.
All those who, while seeing the enormous wealth produced by the workers, cannot enjoy it and live in debt, with the constant threat of auctions and foreclosures, working from morning till night without raising their heads and starving wages.
All those who may not have the same opinion about our present and future, but we found ourselves together on the streets of the struggle.
The message of May Day can and must be generalized. This is what they fear and tremble for. The organized, disciplined disorder against the barbarity of the system of exploitation.
Dear Comrades, the previous years before the pandemic, we met in the streets of the struggle to get the trade unions out of the noose of the yellow trade unions. Together we fought in the Congresses of the Regional Trade Unions, of the Federations and in the Congresses of GSEE. To get rid of the line of compromise, of class cooperation, of submission to business interests which is a line of defeat for the workers and the working class trade union movement. To get rid from all those who shouted “YES” in every memorandum and antipopular measures, that supported that the crisis of the plutocracy should be paid by the workers. To get rid of all those that clapped the government when they voted the law to ban the right to demonstrate.
All those not only they support the barbarity of the antipopular policies, but also they are in the forefront for their implementation. They redeem the notes in government and various mechanisms that the fully supported them and with the oppression forces to in order to get again their well-fed chairs. They need them to get the job done. All of these prove to be a powerful obstacle to the organization and struggle of the workers.
PAME was formed as a rally front of Federations, Trade unions, Regional Trade Unions and trade unionists before 20 years because we believed and we continue to believe that we can give a fresh air in the collective organization of the workers, in the trade unions and the working class trade union movement, to shake the stagnant waters, to free the unions from the deadly embrace of the employers and the state.
It is the time to make steps forward, because we know that the war with the employers, the state and their mechanisms, whatever form it takes, is tough and difficult. A change in the situation of the working class movement cannot be made without hitting to the interests of business groups, without questioning the sovereignty of the EU, without clashing with anti-popular policies, with employers and its mechanisms, without overturning trade union correlations. The struggle for the reorganization of the trade union movement is becoming extremely important today and must awaken every honest worker and trade unionist, especially in the face of the new obstacles that employers and the government, the capitalist system itself, are trying to raise.
We call for a discussion on how to mobilize and coordinate the forces that have an interest in the struggle to get out of the current crisis for the benefit of the working class, the farmers, the self-employed, the scientists, the youth and overcoming inequality. To coordinate the joint action in the cities, the formation of conditions for the social alliance of the popular forces.
To discuss how the heart of the working-class trade union movement, the unions, will be strengthened. How they will be massified. How they will be the place of substantive, democratic, open discussion and decisions. How to get more workers into the battle and the organization of the fight. How will the unions organize the youth, women, migrants, the damned of the earth. How will the collective processes of the unions be massified. How more employees will have an opinion, will decide, will oppose the compromise. How will the unions embrace the large mass of disorganized young people with unacceptable employment, and starvation wages. How will the huge volume of the unemployed become part of the unions? How will we unite workers against racism, xenophobia, nationalism, employer terrorism and state repression.
We invite you to meet on the promising road of the struggle. That is where our rights will be judged. There we will win.
PAME List of Demands
- Repeal of the recent anti-worker provisions of the PNP and all anti-worker laws added to the previous ones, for hitting contracts, salaries, rights in pandemic conditions.
- Public and free, universal Health-Welfare system, fully funded by the state. Free medical care, health prevention and rehabilitation services, benefits and Social Welfare services. Abolition of the health contribution. Abolition of business activity in the field of Health – Welfare and Medicine. Thousands of people must now be recruited in public hospitals, schools, full-time, full-time health workers and teachers of all specialties, to cover the huge shortages. Permanence of contractors, auxiliaries, deputies. To operate Health Centers, hospital clinics, all the infrastructure that was closed due to cuts.
- Abolition of all anti-people laws and measures, memoranda. Increases in salaries, pensions, social benefits. Increase of the minimum wage to 751 euros. Abolition of the anti-worker law 4172/2013, which regulates the minimum wage by Ministerial Decision. We must not let them pass the new cuts in the Christmas Gift and the unpaid overtime planned due to the pandemic. All employees must be given the Easter Gift and the leave allowance.
- Abolish the whole anti-labor framework concerning BCCs. Restoration of the obligation of BCCs for all employees.They mustapply to everyone, regardless of employment relationship. Permanent work for everyone, with 7 hours – 35 hours – 5 days, fixed hours based on the Collective Agreements. Legislation of the Sunday holiday.
- Abolition of flexible forms of employment and conversion of their contracts to indefinite. the disgrace of contractors and subcontractors must stop. No thought for indefinite enforcement of telework, ensure the return of all employees with all the necessary measures to protect health and safety in the workplace.
- Abolish the anti-worker laws that liberalize collective redundancies. Any direct and indirect efforts of the government and the employers to abolish compensation must be stopped now.
- Fight against privatizations, the delivery of public wealth to business groups, redundancies and the intensity of exploitation of workers, rising prices for the popular family in electricity, water, tickets, telephone, basic goods.
- A comprehensive, substantial, scientific plan of combined evaluation for all risks ,both natural and technological ones, must be organised with the responsibility and funding of the state. Take the necessary immediate measures to prevent disasters and minimize their effects. Prepare a comprehensive plan for dealing with technological and natural disasters, education and information of the population, state funding for the development of research in this direction. Employers must draw up a plan of escape and rescue from the workplace, which is regularly tested with exercises. Immediate inspection of all workplaces by state, regional and municipal services.
Pandemic and workplace protection
- Immediate recruitment of permanent staff, full and exclusive employment in hospitals, Health Centers, EKAB, ICU, laboratories. Open now all the health structures that were closed in previous years. Permanent staff.
- In the face of the new wave of pandemic ensure the work of all workers with all the necessary measures to protect health and safety in the workplace. We do not accept any negative change in our terms and conditions of work, in our rights, in the name of dealing with the pandemic.
- Free test for employees under the responsibility of the employer and the state. have controls for the concealment of cases by the employers. The health protocol should not become a rubber band for the profits of business groups.
- Increase public transport now, especially during peak hours. Recruit full-time staff here and now. Repair and renewal of the crew by purchasing vehicles to meet the needs throughout the country. Reduction of the ticket price by 50% . Order of KTEL and other private means to meet emergency transport needs .
- Provide special purpose paid leave for the workers who need to stay home either to care for children or patients or to take measures to deal with the epidemic (eg closure of buildings for disinfection, etc.)
- If for any reason the employee can not work in the workplace with guaranteed health and safety conditions, with the responsibility of the state and the employer they should obtain a special purpose leave with full pay and insurance.
- Establishment of joint health committees per company in which the employees (EYAE) and specialized scientific staff will participate. In this way we will ensure that decisions are made based on medical data and the needs that arise in the workplace.
- Take specific protection measures for employees who come into contact with customers (technicians, stores) based on the instructions of scientists.
- The auctions of the main house, the interruptions in electricity and water, should stop immediately, due to the debts of the working and popular households. Repeal the law that frees foreclosures and for debts to banks and the State.
- Central supply of products for certification disinfection, disinfection solutions for cleaning hands and surfaces for employees who have daily contact with the public – customers but also measures for disinfection and proper use of the tools of our work, e.g. headphones, keyboards etc.
- Public and compulsory Social Security for all. Abolition of the Vroutsi / Katrougalos law and all anti-insurance laws. Restoration of the 13th and 14th pensions. Lower pension at 80% of salary. No pension under 600 euros. Full state guarantee of all pensions .
- Retirement age limits for employees, farmers, the self-employed should not exceed 60 years for men and 55 for women, 55 and 50 respectively for workers in the Heavy and Unhealthy Occupations.
- Take all necessary measures to prevent accidents at work and occupational diseases, with effective control of employer responsibility. Decisive strengthening of the human resources and material and technical infrastructure of SEPE and creation of a state body of Safety Technicians and Occupational Physicians and OSH services integrated in the exclusively public Health system.
- Defence and expansion of the institution of BAE in other sectors (eg integration of health) and specialties (in private and public sector) working in homogeneous conditions, immediate reintegration into the institution of sectors excluded in 2011.
- Reconstitution of OEK – OEE, with all their responsibilities. start and strengthen the construction program, start all the programs that were abolished, expand the social tourism programs. Public and free sports and culture infrastructure, public and free camps for employees, the unemployed and their families.
For the unemployed
- Immediate coverage and subsidy of all unemployed for the duration of unemployment. Increase of the unemployment benefit to 600 euros, ie to 80% of the minimum wage of 751 euros claimed by the trade union movement.
- No unemployed without insurance coverage. No power , water and landline cuts to unemployed, unpaid workers. Suspension of any liability to banks and the State. Write-off of interest-bearing debts.
- As long as unemployment lasts, the unemployed and their family members should have full and free medical care, without terms and conditions. The period of unemployment must be recognized as a pensionable time without burden on the unemployed. Not a single euro from the money of the unemployed in the hands of the employer. Stop subsidizing employers with money. Rent subsidy for all the
We defend the trade union rights of workers
- Abolish the junta-inspired bill for the demonstrations!
- Abolition of the Ahtsioglu law that puts obstacles to the right to strike and trade union action. No compromise with the file of the trade union action through the electronic register.
Protection of motherhood
- Maternity protection for all working women, for the self-employed women as well. Restoration of childbirth allowance, for all women without pre-conditions. Childbirth and maternity leave, two months before and six months after the birth of a child with full salary and social security rights, regardless of working relations.
- Maternity leave for one year with full salary, social security and medical care. Facilitate the mother to return to work with reduced working hours by two hours for the next two years and by one hour for another two. Coverage of the cost of nurseries. Leave for the parents for illnesses and other needs of the child. Longer leave for single-parent families and women with disabilities and children with disabilities. To secure a paid leave for the women who enter the process of Medically Assisted Reproduction and her protection in the workplace.
No participation in imperialist interventions and imperialist wars
- No participation in imperialist interventions and imperialist wars abroad. Disengagement from NATO and the EU. No involvement in their slaughterhouses. No change and redrawing of borders.
- Close all foreign bases and military installations. NATO out of the Aegean and the Balkans.
- Return of soldiers and militaries who are outside the borders.
- Closing of all hot spots on the islands. Immediate transfer of asylum seekers, firstly to the mainland in public open accommodation and then, their immediate transfer to the countries of their destination.
- Give asylum to those who come from countries that are in war, civil war, under occupation or are victims of reactionary regimes and their lives are in danger. Ensure prompt procedures for asylum applications through the recruitment of necessary staff.
- As long as refugees and migrants remain, medical care, vaccinations, access of their children to education must be provided, without the involvement of NGOs and with the necessary staffing of all relevant services.
- New Public Structures with high quality and free services in early diagnosis and early intervention. In the healthcare of the severely disabled, in the education and rehabilitation of the disabled. No payment from families, the disabled, the chronically ill patients for the necessary medicines, treatments, examinations, technical aids. It is an obligation of the state and must be covered by the state budget.
- Emergency funding, recruitment of all necessary permanent scientific and pedagogical staff with the corresponding increased precautionary measures for the life and safety of the vulnerable groups, adults and children with disabilities, so as not to be deprived of special pedagogical, psychological, counselling support, the necessary treatments, ergotherapy, physiotherapy, any other kind of scientific support.
- Full staffing of Educational and Counselling Support Centres by permanent staff of all necessary scientific specialties, such as psychologists, social workers and so that they can meet, among others, the needs of psychological and counselling support of the disabled school population and their families.
- Reimbursement of disability allowances – no new cuts.
Education and the opening of schools, universities, vocational training institutes (IEK)
- Repair of schools and ensuring of suitable spaces, in order to ensure the necessary distances in each classroom and the decisive reduction of the number of students per class, so that no class has more than 15 students. Immediate utilization of schools that closed in previous years and other state infrastructure, or even private, that meet the requirements. Immediate elaboration of a central national plan for new school buildings that cover the needs for school housing.
- Emergency budget from the state budget, in order to hire the necessary number of teachers to satisfy the above condition for more classes with fewer students.
- Recruitment of all substitute teachers. No teacher to be excluded from the lists. Support measures for the teachers working away from their place of permanent residence (housing, feeding, commuting). Permanent employment of all teachers and support staff working during the last years in education.
- No children out of nursery schools.
- Free meals and accommodation for all students in modern, safe dormitories. Ensuring food, maintenance, security and cleanliness in all dormitories under the responsibility of the state. Permanent employment of all workers.
- Fixed monthly student housing subsidy for all students renting a home. Hotel rental for those students who applied and did not get a room in a dormitory. Immediate construction of new dormitories, repair and renovation of all the old ones at state expense. Confiscation of church property, abandoned hotels and utilization of university property in order to build new dormitories.
- Ensuring the necessary number of permanent workers for cleaning the schools, in order to ensure the sanitary conditions throughout the operation of the school. Convert all contracts to full-time. To take back the unjust and unjustified exclusion of immigrants from the selection process in school cleaning.
- Ensuring the necessary number of buses and school traffic wardens, in order to ensure the safe transport of each student to and from school, without the need to be accompanied by a relative.
- Protection of working teachers belonging to vulnerable groups.
- Securing funds in the school committees for the supply of the necessary material (Personal Protection Means, cleaning items, antiseptics, etc.)
- Immediate restarting of the school meal program.
- Carrying out massive repeated tests on all working teachers and students, so that there is immediate intervention in case of need and to control the spread of the virus.
- Establishment of a School Medical Service that will be responsible for controlling the operation of schools and managing the cases.
- Abolition of any legal provision that allows cameras in schools and online transmission of lessons.
- Complete abolition of taxes for residence, extra taxation. Tax-free individual limit at 20,000 euros, increased by 5,000 euros for each child. To tax at 45% the profits and assets of large capital.
- Delete of any kind of interest (contractual, overdue, etc.). Delete of any amount corresponding to compound basis. Delete of 50% of the debt to the banks after the write-off of interests. Non-imposition of interest for as long as the crisis lasts. Reduction of 30% of professional loans for Artisans, poor farmers and fishermen. Automatic termination of any form of enforcement action by the banks.
Thessaloniki, Greece, September 11, 2020