Socialist Worker

General strike called to stop sackings in Greece

by Dave Sewell
Issue No. 2375

Students and university workers marching last week—their fifth week on strike

Students and university workers marching last week—their fifth week on strike (Pic: Workers Solidarity)


Both Greece’s main union federations have called a general strike against public sector mass sackings on Wednesday 6 November.

There have already been public sector general strikes and major ongoing strikes of teachers, local government and civil service workers. 

Universities are in their sixth week of shutdown due to an admin workers’ strike supported by students and lecturers. Services are already understaffing due to previous cuts. 

“If the government’s measures go through the university will just shut down,” striker Vassilis Panagopoulos told Workers’ Solidarity newspaper. 

“It will be a dramatic situation—you’re going to end up with private universities.”

Students, strikers and supporters marched in Athens on Thursday of last week.

The government claims next year it will come out of recession after six years where the economy shrank more than 25 percent.

It hopes the promise of better times will convince people to hold on instead of risking a fightback now. Such promises have been made before.

But the draft of their next budget includes a £850 million income tax hike on workers’ wages and a £424 million attack on pensions.

Creditors

And before that Greece is expected to require another bailout from its international creditors. These are the European Union, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund, collectively known as the Troika.

Later this month Troika inspectors are to return to Greece to scrutinise whether cuts already agreed are being implemented.

News that the budget was now in surplus was soured by the unemployment rate surging to a record 27.6 percent—or nearly 1.4 million people.

The rate is more than double that for young people, and worse still for young women at 65 percent.

Anger at the murder of musician Pavlos Fyssas by the fascist Golden Dawn has fuelled anger at the government too, which spent years protecting the fascists.

When fascist leader Nikos Michaloliakos was arrested the government took credit. But after his release from jail ministers argued they do “not interfere in the work of justice”.

Teachers struck for a week and a half last month, and more than 65 percent voted to continue indefinitely. This was not enough to overcome the hesitancy of union leaders. 

But the anger has not gone away and many teachers are organising to build the pressure for more strikes.

The call for a National Assembly of Workers’ Resistance on 3 November describes “the hottest autumn for years, with a lasting outbreak of strikes in different sectors” and calls for “strengthening and organising from below”. 


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

Article information

International
Tue 15 Oct 2013, 18:10 BST
Issue No. 2375
Share this article


Tags



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