Europe’s press and politicians have attempted to portray ordinary Greeks as lazy and ill deserving of being bailed out.
“These are racist lies,” said Tiana Andreou, a finance ministry worker. “Of course, the capitalists are on permanent vacation, but everyone else is working hard just to survive. We are all stretched and stressed.”
“When people get to 65, they know that they won’t be able to live unless they get another job,” said Spiros Staikos, a health worker in Athens. “People have pensions of just 300 to 500 euros a month. That’s not luxury.”
Seraphim Rizos, a teacher, said, “The government is also trying to pass a law to dismiss 17,000 teachers next year. The teachers who remain will have to work longer and harder.
“Schools will be ruined. The capitalists benefited from the boom, but our living standards didn’t rise.”
“The high cost of living meant that people were forced to get bank loans for everything,” said Spiros.
“Suddenly they have less money coming and they have to pay their debts and to live.”
Nobody believes the latest wave will be the end of the matter.
“I don’t believe a word of what the politicians say,” said Tiana. “They will measure the reaction from the strikes and what the EU and the IMF say and then maybe bring in more measures.
“These attacks are just the beginning.”
Tiana Andreou is an executive member of the civil service workers’ union. She will be discussing the need for united resistance to the attacks at the Right to Work conference in central London on 22 May. For details go to » www.righttowork.org.uk