Socialist Worker

Workers' resistance can stop government cuts in Greece

by Nikos Loudos
Issue No. 2378

Striking school workers in Greece last month

Striking school workers in Greece last month (Pic: Nektarios Dargakis/Workers Solidarity)


A general strike was set for Wednesday of this week in Greece. Union bureaucrats picked this date more than a month ago under pressure from workers who were escalating their strikes. 

Union leaders hoped that the steam would have been released and the strike would be the end of a wave of struggle instead of a beginning. But things don’t always go as union leaderships expect. 

The International Monetary Fund, the European Union and the European Central Bank make up the Troika. It is putting huge pressure on the government to get on with the thousands of promised layoffs in the public sector.

But workers’ resistance has so far stopped the cuts.

Public television, ERT, is still under occupation and workers are in control five months on. “We broadcast using money from the strike fund,” said Eirini from ERT.

“ERT is now a tool to support the struggles, broadcasting every strike and demonstration. The government hasn’t dared send in riot police because of the solidarity expressed by the working class. 

“Now the minister is threatening us again with evacuation. The answer is a coordinated strike of all the media unions. We will be a very big contingent on the general strike demo.”

University admin workers are in their nineth week of a strike to defend colleagues’ jobs. Ioanna who works at the University of Athens said, “We have already had a victory. “The ministry announced that they cannot push through the rest of their cuts in the university because of us. 

“We have shown everyone that a determined strike can hold back the attacks. The key to our success has been mass assemblies where we decide on action and people stop feeling “alone”. 

A national meeting of Workers Resistance, an initiative of rank and file groups and workplace committees, took place last week. Workers Resistance tries to coordinate struggle from below and overcome bureaucratic obstacles.

Margarita, a primary school teacher, said, “We forced the leadership to call two 48-hour strikes last month. This was the same leadership that had promised to avoid any strikes. “The key has been organising local assemblies of our colleagues and building strike committees. 

“And this week’s strike is an opportunity to revive rank and file committees for the next wave of struggle”. 

Mitsos who works in local government at Korydallos added, “Most workers in Greece now know that we should do exactly what the bosses are afraid we will do. “The slogan of the all-out strike is easily understood because it is a call to real action. Any sector that began an all-out strike made all other workers optimistic because they feel their own struggle is part of a coordinated action that can stop the government.”

A special session in the Workers Resistance meeting was dedicated to the anti-fascist struggle in workplaces. 

The recent victories of the anti-fascist movement—with some of the Nazi leaders sent to jail—owes a great deal to the workers’ movement. 

Every time fascists have appeared in hospitals, schools, councils or factories, they have been kicked out. Anti-fascist and anti-racist action in workplaces remains central to stopping the Nazis or the government from dividing us.

Nikos Loudos is a journalist on Workers Solidarity, Socialist Worker’s sister paper in Greece. The paper faces prosecution by an advisor to a fascist Golden Dawn MP. See bit.ly/19Ragy1 for more information

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.