Socialist Worker

Athens work-in pushes the government to the brink

by Dave Sewell
Issue No. 2358

Mass protests have been broadcast across Greece

Mass protests have been broadcast across Greece (Pic: Workers' Solidarity)


A mass meeting of workers at Greek state broadcaster ERT voted to continue working in occupation on Tuesday of this week.

Hundreds of workers have been occupying the ERT headquarters and broadcasting online since the government sacked them and cut off their signal last week.

It plans to close ERT and replace it with a much smaller operation.

Greece’s top administrative court ordered the government to restore the signal on Monday of this week.

It came after six days of strikes and political crisis (see Greece - resistance is being televised).

But it didn’t overturn the the closure or the sackings.

The parties that make up Greece’s coalition government were set to hold crisis talks on how to interpret the ruling on Wednesday.

Mass numbers were expected at a solidarity concert outside the ERT building on Tuesday night.

At the same time, union leaders discussed calling a second general strike in support of the ERT workers.

Journalist Maria Kodaxi has worked at ERT for more than 20 years. 

She told Socialist Worker, “When we heard the news that we were going to close, from a government minister who used to be a colleague, it was the worst moment of my life. 

“But the last few days working in occupation have been the best.”

ERT workers held a union meeting as soon as they heard the news—and voted to resist.

Surrounded

Thousands of supporters have surrounded ERT every night since then.

Maria went on, “We’ve been on air talking about what we really think and feel. 

“We’ve got lots of journalists, technicians and camera crew who stayed in. 

“We’ve got all the unions and the people here as friends to support us. 

“We’re working with energy and passion to show that public television belongs to the people—not the government.”

The ERT workers have a history of militancy.

They have struck against each of Greece’s recent governments. 

“We knew that the closure was unfair,” said Maria.

“It’s an attack on democracy and free speech as well as on us.

“The minister said the workers are the problem. But this government is working only for the Troika, not the people.

“So we decided to stay in, and we won’t stop working until they take us out by force.”

ERT had often been seen as a mouthpiece for government propaganda.

The occupation has turned it into a platform for political debate.

Classical musicians from some of Greece’s most prestigious cultural institutions came into the occupied studio for a live solidarity concert on Friday of last week (see picture below).

“Everyone here is in this to win,” said Maria. “The government thought it could do whatever it wanted to us. 

“We have shown that workers have the power—and we will fight this to the end.”


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