Greece: Important success for the 300 hunger strikers

Greek government backs down

After 44 days of protest, the 300 immigrant workers on hunger strike, and latterly a thirst strike, declared their satisfaction regarding the outcome of their struggle. The Greek government was forced to step back despite its initial position of intolerance, and accept most of the strikers’ demands, part of which will apply to all immigrants in Greece.

The final resolution that was accepted by the strikers ensures that the 300 will not be deported but will be put under a ‘state of tolerance’ for 12 months. This is likely to be extended after this period. The government has also unofficially promised that this ‘state’ will be further extended for as long as the immigrants need in order to fulfil all the requirements for their legalization. If this promise is kept, then we can say that the ‘state of tolerance’ has no real deadline until the immigrants get a legal status and thus their hunger strike is fully successful.

The government will provide the necessary travelling documents for the immigrants to be able to travel to their home countries, in case they wish to do so.

The immigrants will have the right of full legitimacy after the completion of 8 years of residence in Greece. The minimum required time until now has been 12 years and the change to 8 years will be concerning all immigrants.

There will be a reduction in the amount of days of social insurance payment required for obtaining legal status, from 200 days per year to 120. This will provide thousands of immigrants the opportunity to get legal status.

The success of the 300’s fight is extremely important for all immigrants, as well as Greek workers. It clearly reveals what the government is trying to hide from society: the fact that mass struggles can win and that the government is not unbeatable!

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March 2011