Greece: General strike on March 15

“All out on the 15th” demands the main leaflet produced by Xekinima, the Greek section of the cwi, in the run-up to the calling of another general strike called by the general confederations of workers in the public and private sectors, GSEE and ADEDY.

Xekinima has been campaigning for the success of the general strike for the last three weeks, by producing, apart from a general leaflet, separate material for hospital workers, bank workers and the young people, and by taking initiatives in a number of workplaces to have workers’ contingents (apart from the Xekinima contingent) on the demo.

Xekinima expects this new general strike to be one of the most successful of the last years as anger together with poverty and unemployment is piling up in Greek society.

The main points of Xekinima’s leaflet are the following:

Worse every day

The sitution of millions of Greek workers gets worse day by day.

45% of the working force (not to mention the unemployed) get less than 500 euro per month. The same with 73% of pensioners.

The official unemployment rate is 10%, in reality it is more than 15%

5000 enterprises have shut down since the introduction of the euro. 3500 have moved to Balkan countries after taking EU subsidies to “modernise” the Greek economy

One out of three employers does not pay what is due for workers’ insurance.

Public health and education are abandonned by the state and left to collapse so that the private sector can take them over

There is only one way to stop ND’s (New Democracy – the governing party) attack. And this is mass mobilizations, strikes and demonstrations.

Bank and ferry workers

The latest attacks against the bank employees and the ferry workers reveal once again the real character of the ND government as well as cruelty of Greek capital. Especially as the bankers and the ship owners are the most privileged and profitable sections of Greek capital.

The bankers refuse to discuss with the workers union, OTOE. This is unprecedented. It not only shows their determination to abolish collective bargaining but it represents a blunt attack against unionization itself. It is a conscious attempt to split the bank workers’ unions and form separate yellow unions in each bank (a few already exist in some of the entirely private banks).

On the other hand the government, having failed to use the courts against the ferry workers, went ahead with a special order to call in ferry workers as conscripts and thus place them under military law! This is a direct attack on the right to strike!

ND continues what PASOK(Panhellenic Socialist Party) started

Workers must not have any delusions that PASOK will put an end to these policies if it wins the elections. ND is only following PASOK’s steps.

Actually the only reason why ND is able to force such policies today is because PASOK has paved the way for them. It is because the trade union leaderships, which are controlled by PASOK, have led the trade union movement into demoralization, crisis and degeneration. Working class people in Greece know that the future of the president of GSEE, Polyzogopoulos, is none other than that of all former presidents: in parliament and as a government minister, applying anti-working-class policies.

It’s up to us.

Mass mobilizations, are what is required. To put a stop to the endless attacks the working class needs to unite around a fighting plan of mass strikes and demonstrations. Contrary to what the trade union and left leaders are saying, workers and youth are willing and ready to fight. But they have to see a plan of action on the part of the leadership, not blank shots.

The first thing we have to stress is that in order to put an end to the government’s policies one 24hour general strike is not enough. We need a general plan of action, which would include:

A number of 24h and 48h general strikes over the next period, planned in advance.

In between the national general strikes there must be rolling strikes by sectors, cities and provinces. The government must not be allowed to take a breath.

Decisions regarding the struggle and its progress must be taken by the workers themselves and not by the trade union tops. Workers are entirely justified not to have confidence in the trade union leaders.

Strike committees must be elected in all workplaces and on a town and area basis, in order to coordinate the struggle, to organize it properly and efficiently.

Finally and in view of the blind ally in which the traditional parties of the left have led workers and youth, Xekinima links the struggle against government attacks to the struggle for a new left, truly in the service of the working class and of socialist ideas.

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March 2006