February 10, 2012
With a militant strike rally in Athens as well as in dozens of cities, the working men and women, the poor popular strata responded to PAME’s call by participating in the first day of the 48hr general strike, (10-11/2/2012).
PAME’s forces in a decisive move occupied the Ministry of Labour and hung a huge banner on which the following was written: “No to the new massacre of the people- Down with the Government- The Troika must go- Disengagement from the EU.” This occupation highlighted that the government-Troika-plutocracy have a plan to eradicate every labour right, pushing forward savage anti-worker measures in this period, with the pretext of the new loan which the Greek government wants to receive. Amongst other things the new measures provide for
- New reductions in the minimum wage of 22% for all the workers and 32% for those who will now be hired in the private sector, and this in conditions when the losses of the workers since 2009 surpass the 45% mark. Abolition of sectorial collective bargaining agreements.
- New dramatic reductions in the basic and supplementary pensions.
- Mass dismissals of thousands of employees in the public sector and the former state industries, overturning of labour relations, new reductions in salaries in the public sector.
- New drastic cuts in social services, in the Health sector and medicines, which are even placing human lives in danger.
- New tax raid against the broad popular strata in order to support the tax exemptions of big capital.
The class forces guarded their strike from the crack of dawn in countless factories and other workplaces against this storm of measures.
Occupations of other public buildings and state organizations were carried out by PAME, MAS, PASEVE, PASY, OGE in other cities throughout Greece.
Aleka Papariga, GS of the CC of the KKE, participated in the strike rally of PAME in Athens and made this statement to the mass media: “ Even if the workers give their own flesh to pay off the debt, the savage bankruptcy will not be averted. Consequently, there is one solution: Disengagement from the EU and unilateral cancellation of the debt, This is the solution, anything else will constitute a tragedy for the workers.”
The central speaker at the strike rally of PAME was G. Sifonios, President of the Trade Union of the workers of “Greek Steelworks” who have already been strike for 103 days. He stated the determination of the steelworkers to respond even more dynamically now as it is becoming clearer to more and more workers that the measures taken by the specific employer at the Steelworks(Elliniki Halivourgia) are today being generalized by the government and Troika with starvation wages for all the workers. The President of the trade union, which is conducting the longest strike of recent years, thanked PAME and the other forces both in Greece and abroad, which have supported the strike struggle. It should be noted that PAME has started a fund raising campaign for the financial support of the strike struggle.
After the rally there was a magnificent march to the Ministry of Labour, which had been occupied. The demonstrators demanded:
- Elections now!
- Unilateral cancellation of the debt, disengagement from the European Union!
We do not owe anything! We will not pay! The debt is not ours! It must be paid by those who created it, by the plutocracy! This is the truth which was proclaimed by the protesters against the lies of the government of the Black Front (centre-left, centre-right, nationalists) and the slanders unleashed by several international media which present the Greek working people as being lazy.
52 rallies in popular and working class neighbourhoods throughout Attica are scheduled for the second day of the 48-hour strike as well as other multifaceted mobilizations across Greece. In addition, another demonstration is scheduled for the day when the barbaric measures are to be voted on in the Parliament.
The parliamentary group of the KKE stresses in its statement that “it will contribute with all its strength so that the people rise up, so that factories, businesses, popular neighbourhoods become fortresses of struggle. The parliamentary group of the KKE deploys all its forces to impede the murderous anti-people measures . It will ask for a roll call vote on the new memorandum that the government of the Black Front seeks to pass through emergency procedures like a thief in the night. Each member of the Parliament bears a personal responsibility. No member of the Parliament is excused, in the name of discipline, to vote for the massacre of the rights of the people”, notes the statement of the parliamentary group of the KKE
It should be noted that the provocateur mechanisms performed their well-known mission engaging in a meaningless conflict throwing stones at the riot police. Once again these staged incidents in Syntagma square sought to give the opportunity to the media to conceal the clear message of thousands of workers, who demonstrated and demanded the fall of the government of the Black Front and the departure of the Troika, so as to pave the way for people’s power and the disengagement of the country from the imperialist EU.