Socialist Worker

Mass strike hits Greece

by Dave Sewell
Issue No. 2339

Rail and health workers, among others, struck together on Thursday of last week
 (Pic: Workers

Rail and health workers, among others, struck together on Thursday of last week (Pic: Workers' Solidarity)

Unions in Greece have called a general strike on 20 February against a government clampdown on strikers.

The government had sent police to hand striking metro workers an order to return to work or face prison.

Athens metro workers struck last month against a pay cut for workers in public transport and utilities.

Workers across Greece struck in solidarity with the metro workers last week.

Rail workers took action on Thursday of last week.

Hospital workers walked out against budget cuts on the same day.

In the end the whole of the public sector walked out for at least part of the day, in a mini general strike built from below.

Many metro workers took the day off to march with them.

“The government is afraid of strikes—why else would they take these measures?” metro worker John Nikolaros told Socialist Worker.

He pointed to the hypocrisy of the government’s use of the law.

“They think that everything the government does is legal, and that everything that anyone does against the government is illegal.

“So when the court said it was illegal to increase the electricity price, the government did it anyway.

“But when we went on strike, after eight days they convinced the court we were illegal.”

Cops also arrested 35 trade unionists linked to the Communist party for trying to occupy a government ministry.

The government is weak and lashing out.

Senior figures face investigations over the leaked “Lagarde list” of rich Greeks with Swiss bank accounts.

And the latest round of austerity measures continues to face fierce resistance.

“Greek workers have some of the longest hours, and over the previous three years we’ve already lost 35 percent of our wages.” said John.

“Now with the new cut we lose another 20 percent.

“They can’t do this to us and expect us to live.

“People have nothing to do but protest and strike.”

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