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.