Socialist Worker

Indefinite strikes spread in Greek sackings battle

by Dave Sewell
Issue No. 2371

part of the 30,000 strong teachers march through central Athens on Monday of this week

part of the 30,000 strong teachers' march through central Athens on Monday of this week (Pic: Workers Solidarity)


High school teachers across Greece began an all-out strike on Monday of this week. Almost all schools were shut and over 90 percent of teachers took part. More than 30,000 marched in central Athens.

Over 1,000 teachers were fired over summer with thousands more to come. The government has targets for mass public sector sackings.

The teachers are part of a growing strike wave against them.

Universities failed to open for the new term last week as admin workers also launched an all-out strike, with support from students and lecturers.

At least 25 primary school union branches have called on their union to join the all-out strike—and some have already walked out. And workers in jobcentres and pension offices walked out indefinitely on Monday too. 

Some ministries are in a state of almost permanent general assembly, with workers coming together to discuss fighting for their jobs.

More strikes have hit the hospitals, and even hospital doctors’ were set to strike for three days.

The public sector union federation ADEDY called a 48 hour strike on Thursday and Friday. 

All-out

Workers on all-out strike plan to use this to spread the indefinite action.

For four hours on Wednesday all of Greece will be striking, as public sector workers are joined by private sector unions. 

They are under pressure to take action against privatisation. 

But the government’s international creditors have already given them an extra year to meet privatisation targets in the face of mass opposition.

Greece has seen nearly 30 general strikes since the bailouts began. But this new high of workers’ struggle is being compared to the strike wave of October 2011 that brought down the Papandreou government.

The current government is already resigned to an early election. It hopes to hang on until local and European elections next year. 

First it has to survive the strikes—so its propaganda accuses the left of being “undemocratic” in trying to overthrow the government before an election.

This is an attempt to pressure the leadership of the main opposition party Syriza to restrain its supporters. This strategy succeeded in calling off the teachers’ plan to start their strike in May.

But since then the teachers’ union conference massively increased the pressure on the leadership, and teachers have used the summer to organise at the rank and file. 

And now they are in the middle of a much broader strike wave they have every chance of spreading it.


March follows Golden Dawn attack

More than 1,500 people marched on the fascist Golden Dawn’s Athens headquarters on Friday of last week. A mob of its supporters had violently attacked Communist Party trade unionists at a major workplace.

The fascists hope to set up a rival “union” in coalition with the bosses there to stop strikes.

Katerina Thoidou of the Keerfa anti-fascist coalition told Socialist Worker, “After this attack it is becoming clear to more and more people that Golden Dawn supports the bosses”.

Keerfa is hosting an international meeting on fighting fascism in the run-up to the European elections, in Athens on the 5-6 October. To register send your name, organisation, position and contact details to antiracismfascism@yahoo.gr


Click here to subscribe to our daily morning email newsletter 'Breakfast in red'

Mobile users! Don't forget to add Socialist Worker to your home screen.