October 14, 2011
The response of the workers is strengthening against the unending anti-people offensive
The workers’ income in the private and public sector will receive a savage blow with the new measures. The goal of the government, plutocracy and Troika is the dramatic reduction of salaries. The new measures will further cut the salaries of public sector employees, who have already lost 5 months’ worth of salaries, at the same time on the basis of the plan for the new salary structure, the salary of workers in the public sector will be reduced by amounts ranging from 20% to 50% or more! While modelled on the wretched contract in the Telecommunications Enterprise OTE, the salaries in the private sector will be cut even further. They abolish the Collective Bargaining Agreements so that they will press down wages in the private sector well below the shameful National Pay Agreement, which together with the cuts in benefits imposes poverty wages.
The need for the immediate escalation of the struggle not only with the strike on the 19th of October but with a 48 hour nationwide general strike on the 19th and 20th of October was decided on by PAME for the country’s working class to give a decisive response to the government measures which bury their rights and lives.
Strikes have been in full swing all week against the measures of the government, plutocracy-Troika, in the entire public urban transport system, paralysing the public transportation within Athens. The municipal workers are on strike, which is exerting pressure through the non-collection of rubbish in many municipalities including Athens for a week. Workers in DEH (electricity board) have occupied for two days already the building where the machines which print the electricity bills are housed, so in practice blocking the printing and sending to the workers of yet another head tax, a property tax which the government announced would be sent with the electricity bill. The situation in the health sector is explosive, where the government apart from the merger of hospitals announced the closure of 50% of the beds in public hospitals and the handing over of hundreds of hospital beds to private companies. Occupations and work stoppages have taken place in the biggest central hospitals such as the General State Hospital, Ag. Savvas against these plans of the government. The seamen are organizing a 48-hour strike on Monday and Tuesday. The employees in the tax offices as in most ministries and public bodies are also on strike and they have occupied the buildings of various ministries. Various sections of the self-employed like taxi drivers and lawyers are also on strike. School students, students and teachers have been carrying out demonstrations and occupations for the last month and a half due to the unacceptable situation that parents, teachers (the teachers were on strike this week) face as schools have no books and the ministry has handed out photocopies instead of books. At the same the recent laws for schools and universities promote and reinforce the business activity in schools and faculties and force the parents to pay even more.
A significant example of the activity of PAME in this period was the reinstatement of a dismissed worker in one of the three biggest dairy industries. The dismissal of the worker by the bosses of the dairy industry MEVGAL met for three days the response of the workers who went on strike in the two main factories in Athens and Thessalonica. In this way the workers exposed the plans of the employers not merely concerning this dismissal but concerning hundreds of dismissals through the merging of the company with another dairy industry group. The reinstatement of the worker shows the way, it shows that the decisive struggle can prevent the anti-people plans in the workplaces where everything is determined.
This activity that faces the intimidation of the government and the employers, the declaration of strikes as illegal and abusive, will be escalated through the strike demonstrations of PAME on 19-20 October, in the general strike.
International Section of the CC of KKE