Press Conference, Thessaloniki, September 7, 2018
We call upon:
- Those workers that say “No more” who feel that their lives, their future, the future of young people cannot be a future of poverty, exploitation and war.
- To those who are brought to their knees from the economic burdens, from the anti-popular politics and feel frustrated. To those who don’t take part in the collective struggle, are not members of their unions.
- To those who want to march alongside the class movement, while having differences. To those who want to contribute in organizing the struggle, and do not conform with today’s brutal situation, with the idea that nothing can be changed, with pessimism.
- To those who have realized that a change of government that serves the big corporations, E.U. and NATO changes nothing in their lives.
- To those who do not agree that NATO strolls around the country and understands the dangerous plans of the imperialists.
- To those who believe that we must fight for our own needs
- To those who see that the majorities of the yellow unions like GSEE and ADEDY, ETUC members in Greece, cannot and do not want to fight for the real needs of the working class. To those who want their unions to be separated from the employers and their governments and serve the rights of the workers.
Let’s demand: No more waiting, no more tolerance, and no acceptance to the 300€ wages, with the unpaid work, with the unemployment. We claim our modern needs.
Those of you, who are confused, think! The sacrifices of submission, of compromise are larger and endless. The experience of this period shows exactly that.
We call upon the workers to take part on the next demonstrations and ask of the unions to be on guard in order to confront any provocations made. The plan of the provocateurs is to put obstacles to the participation of workers in the demonstrations. These plans come from the American embassy, the Greek government, fascists and other groups who have the same agenda.
We call upon the workers to overcome any fears and the climate of provocation that only serves the government, capitalists and the forces that support them. They want the workers to silently accept their fate, to wait for their problems to be solved by someone else, locked in their homes while they forwrard their plans.
All we have won was through our struggle against the capitalists, their governments and the EU.
Our list of demands is guided by the slogan “OUR NEEDS ON THE FRONTLINE Not The Profits Of The Few” and we feel that it must be adopted by all the workers and their unions. We cannot be fooled by the blackmails and dilemmas, the promises for benefits or from the tactics of the government whose only goal is to make us forget all the antiworkers’ laws and policies imposed til today. Workers, unemployed, pensioners, self-employed, small-farmers, women, and youth mustn’t forget what they live everyday. We mustn’t forget the capitalist brutality which gives birth to the problems of the working class in order to ensure profit for the few. The wealth produced form the working class is in the hands of the capitalists, they have the economic power, and this is an obstacle to the satisfaction of our needs.
Every worker, every workers’ family has interest in fighting side by side with the class-oriented movement, next to the Trade Unions, the Regional Trade Union Centers, Federations of Workers that rally with PAME, in every working place, every sector, and every region to:
- Abolish every single anti-workers’ law from 2010 until today.
- Demand a raise of the wages
- End the robbery through taxation
ENOUGH WITH THEIR LIES
Their growth means bloodshed surpluses till 2060. That translates into cuts in our salaries, our pensions, and our social security. Their growth is built on destroyed working rights. Over 700 anti-workers’ laws are in full effect. These laws didn’t disappear because the Prime Minister and the government announced the end of the memoranda. We know how cunning they can be when it comes to declarations. Our reality however is completely different.
They must feel our breath in every step.
Only people’s struggle, with the reorganization of the class-oriented movement, the social alliance of workers, small farmers, self-employed the youth and women, can create the conditions to overthrow the capitalist brutality.
The governmental propaganda for so called benefits will escalate. At the same time when pensions are being cut, new taxes are being imposed; the capitalists are preparing a new attack on labor rights. It is very well known: When capitalists demand, the governments legislate.
Workers cannot be fooled by the announcements regarding the Collective Contracts. The government leaves intact all the legislative arsenal of the employers, of the previous government (the liberal Nea Dimokratia). Any raise of salaries will be taken back through taxation. The so-called restoration of mandatory emplacement of Collective Contracts is void by default, since it gives employers the right to refuse to file in the list of members to attest the representation of a company. Thus, capitalists are assisted on using the so called Individuals’ Associations (mechanism of the employers to undermine collective bargaining with the union by signing contracts for all workers if only 10% of the workers accepts the proposal of the company. This mechanism was used extensively by the employers to cut the better wages of the Collective Contracts).
52% of new workers work part–time and get half of the minimum wage. The large majority of contractors and “outsourcing” workers form a situation where less than 10% of the working population is covered from a Collective Contract, in order to enhance productivity and competition.
At the same time 60.000 children are left out of childcare facilities. There is an imminent need of new childcare facilities with recruitment of permanent personnel. At the same time 26.000 workers who are employed for Community-local services will be laid off on May. For example dozens of limited time contract workers are being laid off here in Thessaloniki.
We call upon the workers who suffer from these brutal measures to believe in their power. To put aside the big words that will be spoken from the Government. To throw away the illusion that their well-being can depend on the good will of the capitalists and their governments, through the so-called social dialogues and social partnership.
About ten days ago, the government was celebrating the end of the memoranda. The truth is that all the laws that were imposed are still in effect. The increased supervision, the automatic cuts of public expenses if the target is not met, the high taxation, the “new memorandum”, the immense public debt that was created from capitalists and the state remain and will be paid by the workers til 2060.
They do an opening to the markets, which means that they will be able to borrow cheaper and more in order to finance NATO armaments and also to fund the big business groups. They will enlarge the public debt and demand from the working class to pay for it.
The government, through the Prime Minister’s speech left no doubt at all. Tsipras didn’t speak about canceling not even one of the imposed antiworkers’ laws of the memorandums. On the contrary, he committed on all levels, to continue the so-called reforms and insisted that the people should forget everything they lost and compromise.
At the same time, the fairytale of “fair economic growth” and the return to “normality” is once again on the frontline of the government’s propaganda. They want people to fall into the trap of false expectations, illusions, to tolerate the misery under the hope of “better days”.
This takes place in a time where all the everyday problems escalate, with tragic results. When it rains we get drowned in floods, when the wind is too strong we get burned by wildfires. Every day, wherever one looks, wherever one examines closer, he will be brought upon the exploitation of human needs, in health and welfare, in the protection of human life from natural disasters, fires, floods etc. In every sector of life, we are confronted with the cruelty of the state, with mockery, deception, with the exploitation of human pain.
We witness in anger, the handling of the situation from the government, which from their part drastically reduced funds for the needs in welfare, protection from wildfires, protection of housing, farms, of human lives. The government reduced funds channeled to the Fire Department and for all the technical needs because it costs too much. These are examples of how ruthless and dangerous they are. They even try to exploit the tragedy in with the wildfires around Athens, in order to waive their responsibilities. They exploit the destructive wildfires to deceive and buy off the people that were destroyed.
They are already committed on new measures. Pensioners will have new cuts in pensions of 1 billion euros next year. From the start of 2020 there will be a new reduction on the income because of the taxation system. They are preparing a new attack on Social Security while they are in a false confrontation with ND party that promises to abolish the new bill concerning Social Security. Both SYRIZA and ND try to hide that they are the leaders in the attack the capitalists profit from. Workers mustn’t forget all the anti-labor laws from the parties ND –PASOK and SYRIZA of the past few years.
The increase of retirement age limit, the breakdown of pensions into main and secondary , the cut of pensions, the cut in social spending and so many reforms imposed from 2010 until today led to the last legislation of 2016 and 2017.
They are planning an increase on house taxation.
All of this reveals that the exit from the memorandum comes with new sacrifices for the working class.
In the sectors that are currently in growth like Tourism, Telecommunications, Energy, Transports etc., workers work part time or don’t get paid for their work. The sweatshop working conditions are characteristic for the economic growth they promote. For instance, during summer, workers of the Tourism sector, men and women, can be standing for hours; they pass out from exhaustion, the sleep in containers, and so on. This is how “fair economic growth” works.
At the same, time, ETUC’s forces in Greece are the best allies of the government, capitalists and the E.U’s. They act and intervene on all levels. GSEE, once more took part to the so-called social dialogue with the government of SYRIZA-ANEL. They stood side by side with Employers Unions, the capitalists; even signed a common declaration, and now they call upon the workers to protest against the “illusions”. Can these forces be at the vanguard of the organization of our struggle? Can workers trust them? This is an illusion. No one can think that they can change. The 32% cut on the minimum wage was signed BY ALL OF THEM; they undermined the fight against the prohibition of strikes, and all sorts of struggles of these past years. They undermine every attempt of an organized struggle; they make everything in their power to keep in place the electoral correlations in the Unions even though the correlations are fake. They have sided with the employers and their interests. And now they have passed into o whole new level. Top members of GSEE are themselves employers, CEOs in S.A. companies. Whoever tries to fight back, is immediately deregistered from GSEE…it seems they prefer their members to be CEOs, Presidents of Business Groups and so on.
We need to strengthen the confrontation with government, employers, the EU. It is hopeful the tendency of change of correlations in several Regional Trade Union Centers across the country, in many first and second level unions. We call on all the honest trade unionists to join us and give this fight together.
To intensify and consolidate initiatives both centrally and by sector. Initiatives that will sharpen the confrontation without waiting. Over the next few years, with a good and organized understanding of the developments at a general level and at a branch level, with a good plan, to respond to the effort to impose the antiworkers measures, particularly in sector and company level. We seek to have good knowledge of the anti-labor plans, so as to be able to inform the workers in the workplaces.
The organization of the struggle must have the following characteristics: Massive Meetings, workers’ assemblies, discussion, coordination of unions if they are in business groups.
Create committees, and where conditions are created, to found unions. We strengthen the peoples’s committees in the neighborhoods. It is our responsibility to strengthen and get in contact with more workers in the working class neighborhoods, to engage with them more and to strengthen the social alliance.
The class forces have given struggles, and we still fight without stop by calling the workers, the unemployed, the pensioners, the youth, the women to strengthen the struggle against employers-government-EU, against the new and old measures with the slogan “Own Needs In The Frontline”. We have gained new people, in the latest mobilizations, new forces took a step forward and participated in strikes and rallies.
Dozens of unions and workers across the country are giving the fight for the Collective Contracts. The rallying against auctions of people’s homes continues. We have gains. The struggles for full and steady jobs go on against the sweatshop working conditions, for the regulation of the Sunday day off, for the recovery of the losses of retired people.
We continue in the same direction, we will not allow any worker to be seduced by the promises and the big words of the government on Collective Agreements and the lower wage. The “post-memorandum Greece” not only does not bring any recovery of the losses and relief for the working people, but it will further strengthen the anti-popular attack on the basis of the EU surveillance memoranda.
WE SAY THAT WE HAVE THE POWER TO TURN THE THINGS UPSIDE DOWN, THERE IS NO TIME FOR DELAY!
Solution for us is not the disappointment, the fatalism or demobilization.
Solution for us is not waiting for a pro-people government.
We now have experience from many years of struggles. They cannot fool us.
Solution for us is the uncompromising class, militant, massive struggle. Through our trade unions, with organized struggle in workplaces and branches. Against the government – capital – NATO – EU. By weakening the employer and government controled trade-unionism that is serving the plans of the big capitalists.
The only perspective for the workers and the popular masses is the struggle for a development that will serve our needs. A development, in which, the producers of the wealth will be able to enjoy the fruit of their work and their labour. We have known and experienced what the capitalist development has to offer and still count its criminal consequences. Now, the workers have the duty to fight for their lives, their own interests and the future of their children, that is constantly endangered, in the frame of this barbaric system.
In this year’s Thessaloniki EXPO the USA is the honored country, as the American investor’s interest is very high. Big American multinationals are to be honored, as they bring their merchandise, with a special focus in the fields of innovation and technology.
They seek to use Greece as the ground for all their multinational corporations, for their infiltration and their empowerment in the entire area of the Mediterranean and Balkans. The question is: “Economic development for whom?” Of course, the American multinationals are not interested in the needs of the masses. They have simply, “sniffed out” a potential profit, in the promises of SYRIZA-ANEL for the further cuts on salaries, the Collective Agreements and the working conditions, in general. They openly declare that the return on their investments will surpass any fluctuation of the political scene. It’s more than clear that they were also promised by the parties N.D.(liberals), KINAL(socialdemocrats) and the other defenders of the barbarous capitalist road of economic development, that whatever form of government will never question their claims and nothing will endanger their profits. For this, they now sharpen their knives.
The international competition, between multinational corporations and capitalist-imperialist states is constantly escalating. This competition does not involve only, or mainly, the cuts of the Greek national debt or the necessary destruction of capital, by any other means. The international competition, between capitalist-imperialist states intensifies for the control of energy sources and routes. The Greek government takes part in these strategic designs, by facilitating a military operation against Syria, by the USA, NATO and the E.U. The worker’s movement must be ready to respond to such developments.
The government of SYRIZA-ANEL boasts that they have converted Greece into a “geo-political hinge”, for the euro-atlantic strategic designs, as confirmed by the American ambassador in Athens. Without any shame, they prepare to celebrate the American-NATOic triumph, in Thessaloniki. They are ready to cheer for the role Greece plays in the furthering of the American-NATOic strategic designs. They celebrate for the recent Agreement of Prespes, with FYROM and rejoice, because the SYRIZA-ANEL government gives it all: military bases, airports, ports and infrastructure, all for the furthering of the NATOic interests.
The period we are in is extremely dangerous for the Greek people and for all the peoples of the world. War outbreaks are multiplying, in many corners of the world and especially within our area. The role of both NATO and the E.U. is proving to be very dangerous. The capitalists and imperialists escalate the conflict with each other, for the control of markets, energy routes and sources and the wealth, in general. They act as wolves against their pray, with the victims being the peoples, with the destruction of cities and whole countries, with the uprooting of millions of refugees, who, with the current preposterous agreements, remain trapped in Greece, if they manage to escape the war or the drowning in the Aegean sea.
We demand protective measures for the refugees, now!
None of the peoples must shed their blood for the interests of the oil-mongers, of the arms dealers, of the ship-owners and the capitalists. We must strengthen the solidarity against the imperialist war and military interventions. All NATO bases must close. Disengagement of Greece from any conflict.
The Greek capital foresees great opportunities in the conversion of the country into “an energy, trade and transportation hub”, within the area. The Greek multinationals desire to take part in this large business and investment plans, and expand in new markets (routes, ports, trains, airports etc).
For the sake of this investments worker’s and people’s rights are abolished. As our country plays an active part in the NATO plans, our people are pushed into a very dangerous path, a path of destabilization, with immeasurable hazards for their security, freedom and sovereignty.
The Greek bourgeois class, in order to take part in this “business”, seeks for the stained involvement of NATO that promises its geo-strategic upgrading, even with the means of violence and military intervention, should this be necessary. The coalition of SYRIZA-ANEL leads our people blatantly and shamelessly, towards new dangers, for the profits of a handful of local business groups. They put us deeper and deeper, in the competion for control of energy sources and energy routes.
They have signed an agreement, with FYROM that enforces the murderous NATO machine in the Balkans. Irredentism is left open for those who have used its poison to further the bloodshed among the Balkan peoples, in the past. They bring NATO closer against Russia and further the dispute among the large capitalist poles. They choose sides, making our country a potential target. These “wolves” have no problem with war, destruction, uprooting and the loss of life. This is all a profit to them. It is for this profit that our “leftist” government of SYRIZA with the far-right ANEL is concerned.
No worker can feel safe when they see that the knives have been drawn in our area and our government has taken charge of their sharpening. Within the worker and popular movement there must be no room left, for the complacency cultivated by the government. An answer must be given to the government’s choices to set the lives and the sovereignty of our people in danger, for the sake of a few “predatory sharks”. This complicated, yet important duty falls in our backs. The class-oriented forces whenever called upon, under any circumstances have managed to create the prerequisite and consignment for a future struggle that always starts with a few or many small fires of action. It is within these epicenters that our class is trained and prepared for the final confrontation that is to come and will be victorious.
The frame that we today attest to the working class of our country must become a weapon of the struggle. It must be endorsed by all unions. It must become an affair of the working class. It must act as a beacon for vibrant, collegial, combative and decisive collective procedures. We move forward to new struggles.
We intensify our struggle in all sectors and all places of work. We coordinate our steps with a country-wide protest, a strike, well prepared and organized.
Platform of demands
- The unilateral and total cancelation of the national debt. The cancelation of all anti-people measures, laws and memorandums imposed by the IMF, the E.U. and other imperialistic organizations.
- Permanent and stable jobs for all, with 7 hours work/day, 35 hours work/week, 5 working days/week and Collective Contract. The consolidation by law, for Sunday as a day off. Social security, Health and Safety at the workplace, measures of protection for maternity and the prohibition of layoffs of pregnant workers.
- Raises in the salaries, pensions and social benefits.
- Restoration and obligatoriness of the Collective Contracts. Restoration of Minimum wage No worker under 751€ /month. Collective Agreements must apply to all workers regardless their condition of employment.
- The cancellation of the current antiworkers’ legal frame, for the Collective Agreements.
- All unemployed workers must be covered by social security. Unemployment benefits for the whole duration of the unemployment period. No power, water or telephone disconnections for the unemployed and unpaid workers. Postponement of payments towards banks and the State. Deletion of debt from interest rates.
- Prohibition of auctions for the worker’s and popular families. Cancellation of the law that allows the auctioning of properties, due to debts owed to banks and the State, even for the sum of 500 euros. Establishment of a law that will protect the main family residence.
- Abolishment of ENFIA (taxes for houses), and “tax-robbing” of the Greek workers. No, to the new cuts on tax-free income levels. Tax-free income level of 20.000 euros, increased by 5.000 euros per child. Taxation of 45% for the big capital profits and property.
- Cancellation of all antisocial security laws. Covering of all losses on pensions, main and secondary. Annulment of the re-calculation of pension and the cancellation of the “personal difference”. All sums withheld by the State must be returned, without further delays or the requirement of new applications. Lowest pension granted at 600 euros. The age limits for workers, farmers and the self-employed must not surpass 60 years of age, for men and 55 years for the women. The age limit for workers in hazardous occupations must be at 55 and 50 years of age, for men and women, accordingly.
- Fight against privatizations and the surrendering of the national wealth to the business groups, against unemployment, the intensifying of exploitation and the raise of prices of water, electricity, public transport and telecommunication fees and all other basic commodities.
- Thousands of new recruitments must be made now, by the State in the sectors of Healthcare and Education. We demand permanent, full time teachers and hospital staff, to cover the vacancies in public hospitals and schools. Tenure for the limited time contract workers and all substitute employees. Abolishment of “flexible” types of employment and the conversion of all such employment contracts into contracts of indefinite duration. Reopening of all Health Centers, clinics and hospitals that were closed, due to cut-backs. Immediate hirings for the social security, work inspection organisms, the Emergency Services, social organizations and the Social Welfare foundations. Abolishment of all cut-backs and limits in the diagnostic examinations, medication, inoculation, physiotherapy and other medical procedures. Medical care must be provided for free, with the use of state funds and within scientific and not accounting criteria. Reestablishment of labour benefit for all women without any pre-requirements. Exclusive, state funding for Education, Healthcare and Social Welfare. Free and public childcare facilities and a system of a two-year mandatory pre-school education, for all children. No children must be left out of the childcare facilities schools. Free students restaurants and accommodation for all university students, in modern and safe establishments.
- Infrastructure and means of protection for the people. Flood- control, antiseismic and fire-protection measures and projects, right now.
- Immediate restoration of water and electricity supply, for the fire-victims of East Attica.
- Immediate measures of support for the regional Health Centers, with recruitment and other means that will cover the fire-victims that require medical assistance.
- Immediate and emergent economic support for the fire-victims and their families.
- Immediate accounting of damages and total reimbursement for the shops, equipment, and merchandise lost in the fire, for all the self-employed and small businesses in the area, together with the property of the working and populist families.
- Full coverage by the State Manpower Employment Organization (OAED), for all people that lost their jobs in the fire. Immediate coverage of their salaries and social security.
- Postponement of the payment for all debts to the State, and banks, without surcharge or interest, for all fire-victims of the area.
- On bank loans. Total erasing of the debts of working and popular families that were damaged by the fires, concerning loans on primary family residence and vocational homes.
- Exemption from ENFIA, for all poor, working and popular families damaged by the fires.
- Exemption from municipal taxes for all fire-victims.
- The immediate and without further delay planning and generous funding by the State, for counter-flood and counter-fire projects in Attica and the whole country.
- Free and public infrastructure of sports and cultural activities, social tourism programs, free and public camps for the working class, the unemployed and their families.
- Denial of participation in all imperialist interventions and wars, outside the Greek borders. No participation in the slaughterhouses of NATO and the E.U. All foreign military bases and facilities must close now. Throw NATO out of the Aegean and the Balkans.