Greek government threatens workers with military conscription

Immigrant workers show up to give their support at the cleaners’ camp outside the Greek Finance Ministry in Athens

From daily News Line in Britain:

Thursday, 3 July 2014


POWER workers and technicians trades union GENOP have been threatened with ‘conscription’ by the Greek government.

They began ‘rolling’ 48-hour strikes from midnight last night against a Greek coalition government Bill to carve up and sell off 30 per cent of the Public Electricity Corporation (DEH).

Mass meetings supporting the strike against the privatisation of DEH have taken place in several power stations and mines throughout Greece. DEH is the biggest corporation and employer in Greece.

The government have reacted violently to the electricity power workers’ fight, with spokesperson Sofia Voultepsi threatening that ‘civil mobilisation orders may be issued to workers’ if the strike goes through.

She said that ‘trade unionists cannot intervene in the government’s strategic decisions. They do not own DEH, they do not have the right to turn the switches off. This would be sabotage against the state.’

She added that the government is prepared to implement ‘any measures’ so electricity blackouts are avoided.

The Secretary of New Democracy, the right-wing party leading the Greek government coalition, also demanded ‘civil mobilisation’ of DEH’s workforce.

Under the dictatorial ‘civil mobilisation’ law, workers are put under direct government orders and are deprived of all democratic rights. If they don’t turn up for work they are sacked.

The Athens Metro workers in the Greek capital are still under ‘civil mobilisation’ orders imposed in January 2013. Previous to that, the national seafarers’ strike was broken by ‘civil mobilisation’ orders.

Despite the dictatorial government threats, the GSEE (Greek TUC) have refused to call out the working class.

The Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) has said that if DEH is privatised, a future ‘Left’ government would renationalise it.

In Athens, the sacked cleaners of the Finance Ministry continue their fight. Their camp outside the ministry building has reached its 55th day. The cleaners also carry out daily protests at various state and government departments demanding their jobs back.

Speaking to the News Line Despina Kostopoulou said that ‘in these 55 days we have achieved a victory when the Athens Court vindicated us and ordered the Finance Ministry to reemploy us.

‘That was really a victory for our struggle. But the High Court decided that the government’s appeal to the Athens Court’s ruling must be heard in September. Until then we are carrying on with the fight. The government do not have the strength to kick us out.’

At the Athens Polytechnic University, administrative workers voted to go on indefinite strike against the mass sackings. This led to the resignation of the trade union leadership who voted against the strike under the pretext that lectures should be carried out.

On Saturday morning, the Greek government issued civil mobilisation orders to striking Public Power Corporation (PPC) workers, ordering them back to work by placing them under martial law. The order was issued after a ruling by the Athens Court of First Instance on Friday evening, which declared the strike illegal: here.

16 thoughts on “Greek government threatens workers with military conscription

  1. Protest of Greek workers over labour mobility scheme

    The civil servants’ union ADEDY held demonstrations in various Greek cities on Monday against the government’s labour mobility scheme. Under this scheme, public sector workers are paid only 75 percent of their current salary for eight months, after which they are sacked if an alternative post cannot be found for them. This is mostly affecting already low-paid workers.

    Part of the protest was a support rally of sacked government cleaners outside the Finance Ministry in Athens. The nearly 400 cleaners have been protesting outside the ministry for months. At one point they won a court order for them to be rehired, which the government ignored and which subsequently was overturned by a higher court.

    The local authority workers’ union POE-OTA also called a planned protest for the same day with a rally outside the Administrative Reform Ministry.

    ADEDY has called a further one-day general strike of public sector workers to be held on July 9.


    Rolling strikes by Greek power workers

    Staff employed by the state-owned electric power company PPC began a series of 48 rolling strikes Wednesday to coincide with the beginning of a debate in parliament to partially privatise the service by 2015. The privatisation is one of the requirements of the European Union-led troika’s loans to the Greek government.

    The main union representing the PPC employees is GENOP-DEH, which held a rally on Wednesday in the northern town of Amyntaio.

    Strike of Greek aviation workers called off

    A planned 48-hour strike by Civil Aviation Authority staff organised by the OSYPA union has been called off after appeals by the tourism and airline associations to the prime minister and the Transport Ministry. It was due to take place Monday and Tuesday.

    OSYPA is concerned about the deterioration of the infrastructure at Greek airports and the implications for flight safety. The union has said it will file charges against the Transport Ministry at the Supreme Court in relation to the deterioration of the service.

    The union said it called off the strike “because it is not our intention to cause trouble for local communities hoping to make a living from tourism nor to passengers, the national economy and the country’s image”.


  2. 24-hour strike of Greek public sector workers

    Public sector workers across Greece employed in hospitals, tax offices, prisons and archaeological sites held a 24-hour strike Wednesday. They were protesting cuts in jobs and plans to impose a 40 percent cut in salaries and pensions.

    The strike was called by the Civil Servants Confederation (ADEDY). It was timed to coincide with the arrival in Athens of inspectors from the International Monetary Fund, European Union and European Central Bank—the “troika.” They are assessing the government’s compliance with EU austerity demands as part of its bailout of the banks.

    The Finance and Administrative Reform ministries, who jointly have responsibility to impose the attacks, had filed a lawsuit against the strike.


  3. Greek bus drivers walk out in Thessaloniki

    Bus drivers employed by the local public bus company, OASTH, in Thessaloniki, Greece began an indefinite strike Monday to protest non-payment of their wages. A spokesman for the drivers, Dimitris Tsermenidis told reporters that the company is owed around €130 million by the Greek government and none of them have been paid for more than six weeks.


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