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Greek nurse says, ‘We want to take our lives back’

This article is over 12 years, 7 months old
Argyro, a nurse in Ippokrateio hospital in Athens, spoke to Socialist Worker
Issue 2277

“As a nurse I see the problems. Patients’ families often don’t have the basics, from proper nourishment and clothing to books at school.

Our hospital, like most, suffers from limited funding and medical supplies. It is understaffed and poorly maintained.

It’s dangerous for patients—and a hell for the staff. We can just barely cope with emergencies.

There is an increase in stress and depression-related incidents, mainly heart attacks and strokes. Many people have planned their lives around their mortgages and loan repayments, but now everything is collapsing.

I was getting a salary of around 1,000 euros. They’ve cut it to 600 euros [£500]. This is a struggle not only to maintain our jobs, but our whole lives.

In my hospital, the attacks made us start taking part in the struggle. We literally haven’t stopped taking all sorts of actions, from strikes to occupations. Despite threats from the bosses, and manoeuvres from the trade union bureaucracy, the grassroots is organising like never before.

I believe that the movement will not stop until it sees these policies—and any government that wants to continue them—overthrown.

I hear my colleagues saying that we could run the hospital better than any manager.

People who have been taking action for more than a year will not stand down. We want to take our lives back.”

Interview by Costas Todoulos

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