Greece: Vodafone strike declared “illegal”

“None of this will intimidate us – we will struggle until we win collective bargaining”

Workers at Vodafone in Greece took strike action yesterday over their right to collective bargaining and other demands.

Vodafone has 2,400 workers (1,000 are contracted from other companies) in Greece and is the second biggest mobile phone company in the country.

The strike was decreed “illegal” by the law courts but the union decided to go ahead with the industrial action, despite the possible arrest of strike leaders. The police turned up at the Vodafone buildings but did not intervene or make any arrests. This is an important step forward for workers across Greece, as it is very rare for a strike to take place after it is declared illegal by the courts. The Vodafone strike was solid and the two central offices of the company were paralysed.

Below the President of the Vodafone workers’ union, Jacqueline Gorou, and a member of Xekinima (CWI Greece), reports on the successful strike.

A 24-hour strike called by the Panhellenic Trade Union of the Workers in Vodafone-Panafone successfully took place on 3 March.

The employers’ attempt to terrorising the w0rkers failed. One day before the strike, a court judged declared the strike “illegal”. However the Vodafone trade union did not back down and with the support of EKA (Athens Workers’ Centre) decided to followed through its right to strike, demanding the company bosses begin negotiations over the workers’ right to collective bargaining.

On the day of the strike the employers used a combination of pressure, blackmail and threats, and moved some of the workers into other buildings. Nevertheless, they were not able to break the strike, as many workers resisted and did not give into blackmail. The company’s two main call centre buildings were completely empty on the strike day.

The presence, in solidarity, of union colleagues from WIND, VICTUS, NOKIA-SIEMENS, ETHEL, the Athens philharmonic orchestra and the Athens Workers’ Centre, and also from the Workers’ Club of Kallithea and assembly of residents of Petralona, Thisio, Koukaki and other organised groups, was also very important for the Vodophone workers.

The success of our strike is arming us with courage and optimism.

It is disgraceful that our strike was the first to be held since the change in government [from New Democracy/Pasok to Syriza/Independent Greeks] that was deemed ‘illegal’, as was the constant presence of the police outside the Vodafone buildings.

None of this will intimidate us. We are determined to continue coordinating and escalating our struggle, until we achieve:

  • collective bargaining
  • Ending job losses
  • Changing the status of agency workers at Vodafone, so that they have full workplace rights and permanent status
  • An end to the casualisation of labour

    Please send protest messages to: Vodafone,

    and Wind

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March 2015