Metro strike in Athens in response to mass lay offs threat

Metro strike in Athens in response to mass lay offs threat

Metro workers in Athens have decided to strike for a third continuing day in response to the lay-off threat to 286 colleagues last week. Meanwhile the Greek government is unveiling labour relations sweeping changes.

The Metro workers' stance in response to a threat to fire 286 colleagues in Athens has been portrayed by the media as a torment to the general public amidst the current heat wave that has plunged Athens to temperatures of 40C and beyond. Yet the third day of strike announced today by Metro workers comes as the Greek government is announcing a new packet of austerity measures that are sure to torment the public more than any mass transport stoppage. The plan which was revealed by the Socialist Party today includes a reduction of 20% for the basic salary of workers in their 20s (from 740 to 595 Euros per month in total, a real approximate of 400 Euros at hand), a 50% reduction to compensation payment for lay-offs, the raise of pension age to 65, and granting freedom to bosses to perform mass lay-offs.

Yet apart from sector-specific strikes like the Metro one or the refusal of high school teachers to mark final exams that has paralysed the educational system, little is moving on the labor struggle front, with rallies called by the private and public umbrella unions attended by less and less people. Rather than this being read as a move of workers away from the Party controlled unions and towards autonomous syndicalism, it reflects a general wind-down of reactions to measures since the tragic events of the 5th of May that has still to be properly analysed rather than attributed simply to the summer heat and the vacations spirit of the season.

Posted By

Jun 17 2010 12:51


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Jun 17 2010 13:13

I heard, as an anecdotal aside from a Greek friend, that many politicians from the main parties are spontaneously harrassed and even attacked by people whenever they appear in public. Any precise information about that?

Jun 17 2010 13:55

Such incidents are being reported by the "trash news" blogs in Greece although I am not sure if there is actually more of it happening or just more of it being reported than usual.

Jun 18 2010 17:16

An interesting incident was reported concerning yesterday's large PAME (Communist Party controlled union) march in Athens: at some point the marchers detected a plain clothed policeman in their ranks, closed against him and deprived him of his police id. Upon understanding what was happening motorised police forces gathered with the intention to attack the march - then something unheard of for Greece happened: the PAME marchers performed a swift maneuver forming a tight cube thus hindering any aggressive move by the uniformed thugs. In an instant the cube puked the captured policeman who quickly rode the back-seat of a police motorbike and disappeared. Today's Communist Party Daily, Rizospastis, featured centrally the id of the policeman and the news have created a huge controversy in the media. There is no doubt that the State considers the Communist Party a force that must be controlled and surveyed during these critical times, especially as its workers once again today blockaded the entire Peiraeus off-loading platform in order to hinder COSCO boats off-loading their cargo in the harbour. Like it or not the KKE is transforming into the main force of resistance to the government measures.

Jun 19 2010 10:26

Cheers for this tax, interesting stuff.. is the resistance to austerity measures still continuing then or is it all quietening down now? The stand of the Greek working class against recession is being watched by all of us over here..

Jun 20 2010 15:33

@ Ed

An interesting article in the centre-right daily Kathimerini today perhaps has a good answer to your question claiming that the quiet or even silence of the population in relation to the relentless news measures is actually a sign of the entire social contract being dismantled. The argument goes (actually making a lot of sense) that protests in Greece form part of the social reproduction system rather than an opposition to it, and that the lack of protests at this critical historical junction can only be indicating a rupture of the very fabric of social reproduction and State-society relations heralding an era of unpredictable events and reactions. I believe this analysis should be taken very seriously as it would not be surprising for example the whole thing to turn into a racist pogrom against immigrants or just senseless civil violence.

Jun 21 2010 01:15

this is very interesting taxkipali. could i bother you for a translation of this when/if you have the time?

Jun 22 2010 14:14

Unfortunately I have no time to translate it just now jesuithitsquad, but will do if I find some soon. On a second note, the final exams markers have suspended their strike announcing a long struggle from autumn onwards. PAME has condemned the decision to stop the strike. Meanwhile, the government seems in limbo as to if it should pass the new austerity measures through a parliamentary vote (which it could loose) or via Presidential decree (which could mean the President refuses to go for it). Talk of urgent elections is rife in Greece at the moment.

Jun 23 2010 17:54

Greetings Taxikipali, when you talk about "senseless civil violence" are you referring to the recent riot of volleyball fans in Lamia? I understand from media reports that the inter-fan fighting also led to the damage/destruction of nearby buildings. Was there any radical edge to this violence?

Also, in light of what you wrote above, how much credibility do you put on the Kathimerini poll on 11 June that 80% of Greeks thought there will be more social unrest, that levels of pessimism were rising and that "A similarly high proportion of respondents, 84 percent, claimed to be disappointed by “Greek democracy”"

We're hoping the unpredictability you talk of falls on the side of revolt...

Will we seriously have to wait for the population to come back from their summer holidays to find out?