Socialist Worker

Greek strike wave continues the fight against austerity deal

by Stelios Michaelides
Issue No. 2478

Shipping workers march out on strike this Monday

Shipping workers march out on strike this Monday (Pic: Workers Solidarity)


Shipping workers began a two-day strike at ports across Greece at 6am on Monday of this week. At the port of Piraeus near Athens it was 100 percent successful—not a single ferry went in or out.

Hundreds of ship workers marched through the port along with supporters from the radical left and port workers who struck a week earlier against privatisation.

Unions announced a similar success at other ports all over Greece.

One striker said he had been working in a ship with a crew of just 12 workers, when normally there should be 25.

It meant working dangerous 18-hour shifts. And many haven’t been paid in months.

“We can’t stand to do it like this any more,” the striker said.

Unions plan a general strike across Greece on Thursday of next week.

The striker added, “We’ll have to continue the fight. The general strike is just a step—we’ll need more than a one-day strike to win.”

Shipping workers were set to occupy the office of their pension fund on Tuesday of this week.

The government, led by left wing party Syriza, plans to merge all workers’ pension funds into one.

This is in order to cut payments by up to 30 percent and up the retirement age to 67.

For some workers this will mean working an extra two years, for others much longer.

This is a cut other governments have tried to make and failed.

Now just six weeks after Syriza was re-elected there is a strike wave against the third memorandum—the austerity package the government signed up to as part of Greece’s third bailout.

In every sector workers are taking action against it.

School students march in Athens, also on Monday

School students march in Athens, also on Monday (Pic: Workers Solidarity)


More than 10,000 students and teachers protested in Athens on Monday of this week. A lack of teachers means many students aren’t getting all their lessons.

Significantly the teachers’ union held a three-hour strike so its members could attend. They are under pressure to call more action.More than 10,000 school students and teachers protested in Athens on Monday of this week. A lack of teachers means many students aren’t getting all their lessons.

In every union meeting in recent weeks people have been putting pressure on their leaderships. They say, “We must call action, we must call strikes, we must get out on the streets against the third memorandum.”

University students were set to demonstrate on Wednesday of this week.

Students at the university of Crete have been in occupation for three weeks.

They are demanding money for housing and transport, and opposing the privatisation of their canteen.

And every town hall in Greece is set to be occupied on Wednesday of this week for workers to hold mass assemblies and organise for the general strike.

They face privatisation of many services and a new round of job losses as temporary workers’ contracts expire.

There are fights on the refugee issue too (see page 8).

This all shows how people see the government. They say it might be Syriza in office, but we have to fight to win what we need.


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