The class unions of Greece started the preparations for the Workers’ May Day Strike with a series of meetings in Athens, Piraeus, Lavrion and other cities that took place the last days.
In the meeting of Athens, the unions noted
“We are here to organize the struggle of the unions against the anti-workersattack planned by the government, seeking to impose anti-workers reforms that literally overturn what we know about labor rights and conquests. We are to organize the May Day strike celebration with content and slogans that reflect the modern needs of the workers against capitalist barbarism.
135 years after the blood-stained May Day in Chicago for 8 hours and 101 years after the introduction by law of 8hour/workday in Greece, a conquest that required rivers of blood and hard struggles of our class, the government is preparing to abolish it. To bring a law for the imposition of 10-hour workday and the abolition of overtime pay, regulations for the extension of flexibility. The abolition of the 8-hour, the Collective Labor Agreements, the Sunday – holiday for more sectors as well as basic trade union rights are a top blow to our rights and to the very purpose of the existence and action of the unions.
The alarm must sound in all unions, in the whole working class. The submission of this bill is a cause of war.
It is necessary to realize what changes the bill refers to. Cosmogenic changes. Because despite the retreat of the labor union movement in recent decades, there are still fixed points of reference from which the struggle can be organized, demands can be supported, labor needs can be projected. These constants were the 8hour/workday and some labor and trade union rights that were secured through hard class struggles and in labor law…
They seek, by imposing individual employment contracts, the “free” as they say “agreement” between employee and employer, to break the strongest bond that binds workers to unions. We can all understand and have considerable experience of what it means to be a worker alone in against the employer, how vulnerable and defenseless he is to every claim of the employer.
With the changes in the trade union law, they seek to put the labor struggles in ice. They promote the electronic registry of union members and legitimize employers’ intimidation. They want to give a decisive blow to the right to strike since they imposed -in addition to the unacceptable way of electronic voting-they also impose the legal strike-breaking for most sectors…
They want unions “social partners”, such as GSEE and ADEDY-ETUC members in Greece-, to sit at the negotiating table and agree on all anti-labor regulations. Simple participants in the parade of anti-popular laws that deprive every labor and trade union right.Apologists and propagandists of the capital strategy to constantly convince employees that their sacrifices for the profits of business groups are necessary and beneficial. It does not surprise us that the Minister of Labor, in a meeting he had with the EKA administration, admitted that the content of the law is known to the leadership of the GSEE, and that in the disastrous provisions of the new trade union law he has included GSEE’s proposals…
All of the above evolve in conditions where the pandemic literally reaps our people and the peoples of the world. Thirteen months after the start of the pandemic, we are counting thousands of dead and tens of thousands of coronavirus patients. The government refuses to take all necessary measures to protect the lives and health of workers and the people as a whole. At a time when dozens die every day outside the ICUs and the situation prevailing in hospitals is explosive, it denies the real demand for the requisition of the private health sector, while the recruitments are dramatically minimal in relation to the real needs.
… Respectively, the right and the immediate social need for the free and rapid vaccination of all the people is being violated in the context of a strong trade war between business groups in the field of medicine and the strong antagonisms between the imperialist states.
… In the face of this situation, it is necessary for the unions in Athens to discuss and plan the escalation of action against the government’s attempt to impose a new dark age for the workers. To organize the fight for the defense of our health and our rights, for the strike – militant celebration of May Day.
In this direction we support every militant mobilization of the unions, in every branch, in every neighborhood such as:
The strike announced by EKEDA for the entire Thriasioarea on April 12, on the occasion of the transformation of the Hospital exclusively into a COVID hospital.
The mobilizations of pupils, students, parents and teachers on April 14.
Of Employees in Tourism – Catering on April 20.
Supermarket workers on April 22nd.
This action of the unions and the direction of the struggle is an obstacle for both the government and the bosses. That is why just the day before yesterday we had the dismissal of a militant worker, a member of the administration of the Athens Metalworkers Trade Union, from the industry he worked in because he demanded mass tests on all employees after several cases had been found
The organized action of the unions in the field of Healthcare stands out, which was a nail in the eye of the government because it revealed its huge lies, as the Prime Minister unequivocally claimed yesterday, that there are no intubated people outside the ICU. Thus, the “heroes” of health were targeted, persecuted like the presidents of OENGE and POEDIN, and even fired like the president of the Hospital of AgiosSavvas.
…All of the above confirms that within the unions and the working class the debate must be strengthened why all our just demands are not being met and how they can be met.
The barbarity of capitalist exploitation makes its appearance in every case. Ownership of business groups, the thirst for greater profits lead to the intensity of exploitation and repression. They sacrifice health and rights in order for the business groups to raise new funds, to conquer new markets. They involve peoples in imperialist wars and rivalries to gain a greater share of resources, infrastructure and markets.
The slogan of last May Day “the real virus is capitalism”, reveals exactly the reality, targets the main enemy that workers have to face.
PAME and the unions that we unite in it feel great pride but also responsibility because last May Day is already recorded in the book of the great class struggles of our people. It was a great legacy as the organized disobedience of the unions not only canceled the attempt to suppress the mobilization but mainly gave the masked mouths the opportunity to shout loudly, to fight and to claim. It gave breath and direction to break the fatalism and acceptance of government propaganda on “individual responsibility” and to organize new struggles in industries, businesses and neighborhoods.
Under the slogan “Our Dead – Their Profits, We Are Walking The Path Of Overthrow”,we organize the May Day of 2021. May Day with all its historical burden, as a day of inspection of the action of the unions, acquires in these conditions even greater importance. For all these reasons we take the matter of preparing the strike into our own hands, it is not a matter of any government or any law.
We propose to the unions that May Day be celebrated with a strike on May 6 (as May 1st this year will be a Holiday in Greece). It is enough time to prepare well, to organize many events in the workplaces, to organize well the mass participation of workers in the strike rally in the center of Athens in front of the Parliament.”