GSEE and ADEDY call General Strike
Wednesday 26 September 2012
The TUC has sent a message of solidarity today to the trade union confederations GSEE and ADEDY, as they embark on a 24-hour general strike to protest against the swingeing austerity measures demanded by the troika of the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund.
The day-long strike aims to put pressure on the Greek coalition government to change course, and avoid plunging the Greek economy further into recession. Among measures planned are a six-day working week with no increase in pay, further cuts to the already reduced minimum wage, a rise in the pension age to 67 and further attacks on workers' rights.
A briefing note from GSEE, which is a mainly private sector confederation, and ADEDY in the public sector, is reproduced below.
Brendan Barber's letter to GSEE President Yannis Panagopolous and ADEDY President Kostas Tsikrikas says:
'Dear Yannis and Kostas
'We hear of the dreadful measures that the Greek government is planning to introduce, which will once again severely hit working people and pensioners. The announced wage and pension cuts, tax hikes and forced privatisations - which don't appear to have worked anywhere else in Europe in delivering much needed economic growth - are unlikely to bring Greece on a sustainable path of recovery. In particular the proposed increase of the working week to 6 days, with longer working hours but for a five-day pay, is reminiscent of slave labour and it is doubtful that it will bring increased productivity.
'When governments are dismantling the welfare state, collective bargaining and social dialogue, and while money is found to bail the banks, workers have no choice but to unite and protest against the injustice, for however long it will take to make those in power change their course.
'Thus I am pleased to send you the greetings and solidarity of the British trade union movement and its 6 million workers for your general strike tomorrow to protest against austerity.
'We will stand besides you in this and future struggle.'
GSEE and ADEDY have called a nationwide 24-hour strike on 26 September 2012 to protest the proposed new anti-labour, anti-social austerity package that will again severely hit the working people and the pensioners of Greece, and refuel the recession/austerity vicious circle that over the last two-and-a-half years has methodically pushed the country over the edge.
We reject the new austerity round comprising fresh deep cuts in wages and pensions, welfare slashes, tax hikes, thousands of public sector layoffs and express privatisations. We reject the pressure exerted by the Troika to further destroy labour and its institutions:
With wartime recession levels, 1.15 million Greeks without a job, youth unemployment at 54.9% and 30% of the population pushed below the poverty line, Greece since 2010 has effected the greatest fiscal adjustment among OECD countries over the last 30 years thanks to the impoverishment of Greeks, the destitution of pensioners and the demolition of the country's productive base along with its education, healthcare, welfare and social security systems. In the meantime, the country's entire labour legislation is destroyed, hard won labour rights smashed and the labour market derailed to appease the neo-liberal 'competitiveness' fixation.
The manifestly lethal IMF-EU-ECB formula has failed on every single target rendering Greece's sovereign debt unsustainable and propelling the country at an exponential rate towards economic and social collapse and political instability - and a looming humanitarian crisis.
Yet more poison is underway to deliver new hardships to the people and wreck the country with more recession. Instead of growth, jobs and prospects, once more devastation and slow death is handed to Greece. Instead of measures to combat tax fraud, rein in the underground economy and undeclared work and control cartel manipulation of soaring prices, the government prepares to heap more suffering on the 'usual victims': the working people, the unemployed and the pensioners.
We reject the new outrageous devastation organised by the government and the Troika in a parody of 'negotiation' to massacre any remaining social and labour rights. We respond by organising a prolonged struggle on all fronts to defend our rights, our lives and our families.
On 26 September 2012 the general strike will renew our pledge to reverse the dark route cast for Greece by the government at the behest of its usurer-creditors.
In this unprecedented critical junction our first and foremost duty is to 'save the country, starting with its people.'
Briefing document (900 words) issued 25 Sep 2012
This page http://www.tuc.org.uk/international/tuc-21452-f0.cfm
printed 21 May 2013 at 16:25 hrs by 184.108.40.206