Greek steelworkers fight on

Illegally striking workers and their supporters outside the Hellenic Steel plant in Aspropyrgos near Athens

From News Line daily in England:

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Another Greek strike illegal

THE seven and a half month old strike at the Hellenic Steel plant in Aspropyrgos, just 20 km from Athens, has been declared by a Greek single judge court as ‘illegal’ last Tuesday. It follows last Sunday’s ruling of another court which branded the coach drivers’ national strike also ‘illegal’.

In the case of the Hellenic Steel Plant the judge ruled that the decision to go on strike on 31 October 2011 without holding a secret ballot was ‘unlawful’.

But in a defiant statement following the court’s ruling the Hellenic Steel trade union said that the strike goes on since the union held a secret strike ballot on 28 May which showed 204 votes for and just 42 votes against.

The strike has been carried out against ‘flexible’ working conditions, mass sackings and wage cuts. Already Hellenic Steel management has sacked 119 workers.

On Tuesday Hellenic Steel management failed to turn up to a tripartite meeting with the caretaker Labour Minister Antreas Roupakiotis who called the 119 sacking and wage cuts “illegal”.

Despite mass support from the community and the working class, neither the GSEE (Greek TUC) nor the Greek Engineers’ Union have called a national strike in the steel and metal industry.

Likewise the trade union leadership at the second Hellenic Steel plant in Volos, 350 km north of Athens, has also refused strike action despite repeated calls by their brothers of the Aspropyrgos plant.

The trade union statement calls ‘on the working class, the oppressed social layers, the youth to support even more decisively our struggle, strengthening it with material and moral support and solidarity.’

It adds, ‘we call on trades unions, trades councils, mass organisations to condemn the court’s ruling, and to take action and organise in every city and in every industry and every place of work.

‘In these difficult conditions we live through, in the coming storms, there is no other road but for all of us to become steel workers; the victory of steel workers is a victory for all workers.’

Greek municipal workers said today that they will strike during the June 17 national election; here.


6 thoughts on “Greek steelworkers fight on

  1. Long-running Greek anti-austerity strike declared illegal

    An Athens court has declared the country’s longest-running anti-austerity strike illegal. The strike by steelworkers at the Hellenic Halyvourgia firm had lasted almost nine months.

    The court ruled Wednesday that the decision to take industrial action had not followed proper procedure because no proper vote took place.

    Workers at the privately-owned company will have to be re-balloted.

    A four-day strike planned by touring bus drivers that was due to begin on Monday has also been called off, following a ruling by an Athens court that it, too, was illegal. The drivers are facing a 70 percent cut in wages.

    Greece is in its fifth straight year of recession. Salaries in both the public and private sectors have been slashed as successive governments have sought to make workers pay for the crisis caused by the failure of the capitalist system. Elections on June 17 will take place amid an already expressed overwhelming popular rejection of social austerity.


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