Occupation of the Aristotle University Thessaloniki Rector’s Office - against subletting slave-traders

Below is the first announcement of the ongoing (since the 16th of March) Occupation at the Rector’s Office of AUTh, against the subletting working condition in Universities and anywhere the most severe exploitation of immigrants and Greeks is hidden behind contracts on sub-contracts on sub-sub-contracts and so on….At http://www.ergolabies.blogspot.com/ is the occupation’s blog….

Submitted by clandestinenglish on March 23, 2009




-Out with the rent companies

-Down with the subletting slavery at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki

Konstantina Kuneva is an immigrant worker from Bulgaria. She worked as a cleaner at the State-owned public transport company of ISAP, as an employee of the rent (i.e. worker-subletting) company OIKOMET . She is a militant member and secretary of the Union of Janitors and Cleaners of Attika (PΕΚΟP), and she had been receiving threats for her syndicalist activity well before the 22nd of December 2008, when she was attacked with sulfuric acid on her way home from work. Today, she is still in a critical condition, suffering from extremely serious injuries in vital organs and on her face as a result of the murderous attack.

The attack against Konstandina Kuneva was hardly a bolt from the blue; it was a moment in a broader process, that of the imposition of flexibility and precariousness in labour relations today (part-time employment, hazardous work conditions, no overtime payments, recruitment agencies subletting workers on temporary and arbitrary contracts in Adecco’s style etc.), and of the employers’ terrorism and violation of labour laws (threats, black labour, falsified contracts stating higher wages than the workers actually earn, or even blank contracts which the workers are forced to sign, etc.). This situation is aggravated by the fact that it is getting harder for the workers to organize and collectively fight for their rights, since the unions are often corrupt, controlled either by political parties or by the employers themselves. This is the reality for all of us, we experience insecurity everyday, either directly as current or future precarious workers, or simply as people realizing what is happening around us.

Subletting slavery is alive and well at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, in the form of contractual work. In order to cover for its basic needs (in cleaning services and janitors for instance) the University enters contracts with rent companies (worker-subletting businesses), in the case of the Aristotle University with the OEKOLOGIKI company, which is part of the same consortium as Kuneva’s employer OIKOMET. These companies then employ their own staff and use their own equipment for the specific job. This way, two kinds of contractual relationships are created: one between the University and the subletting company, another between the company and its employees, for whom the company is the sole employer. In practice, the labour conditions that emerge are similar to the ones experienced in Kuneva’s case - precarity, insecurity and uncertainty whether the period contracts are going to be renewed, and also threats, terror, and the violation of the workers’ rights by the employers.

In this labour arrangement, on the one side there stand those who refuse to accept exploitation, who fight for human dignity and try to think up ways to act in solidarity and justice. On the opposite side stands the State apparatus which works side by side with the murderers, covering up their dirt and providing them with protection in the media, hypocritically offering to enter an alleged “dialogue” with the workers, in a futile effort to pour oil on troubled waters.

In response to all this, we have decided to unite and act together. We, students, workers and unemployed people, have set up the Initiative Against Rent Companies (Worker-Subletting Companies) at the Aristotle University. Our aim is to express our solidarity to Konstandina Kuneva and to undertake effective action against subletting slavery. We demand the removal from all rent companies from the AUTh and the full employment of workers by the University.

We demand

- an end to the subletting contracts at the AUTh
- permanent employment for all workers, greeks and immigrants, at the AUTh
- new contracts that guarantee permanent, decent and stable employment
- Out with the murderers of OIKOMET-OEKOLOGIKI
- Out with all the rent companies and all private companies from the University