Greek students’, workers’ anti-austerity actions


Students from the Kareas Athens district stating ‘No to the government’s New School Bill’

From daily News Line in Britain:

Saturday, 8 November 2014

School students march in Athens

THOUSANDS of school pupils and student protesters in Athens tried to breach the barricades in front of the parliament building last Thursday.

They faced a large security presence from police, as mass demonstrations once again engulfed the Greek capital.

Up to 10,000 students, university staff and teachers from a number of educational institutions including the University of Athens took to the streets in Athens.

They were protesting against cuts in the educational sector as well as the increased security measures that are being imposed on educational institutions.

The protesters reject the government plans in the ‘new school’ bill, which wants to introduce changes to the exam system, merge schools, and cut the number of teachers.

Since Monday, some 500 secondary schools across the country have been occupied by protest sit-ins. Protesters on Thursday were chanting slogans and carrying banners to send a clear message of defiance to the Education Minister Andreas Loverdos who recently announced stricter security measures against such sit-ins.

Loverdos said during a recent television interview that he is not against students expressing their dissatisfaction as long as they don’t miss classes.

He also admitted that school funding has dropped due to the economic crisis, but stressed that it does not justify the closing of schools by students.

On Tuesday, Supreme Court prosecutor Efterpi Koutzamani asked for officials to act to ensure that public schools are not damaged during student occupations.

University students stand in opposition to the government plans to grant custody of universities to private security companies as well as to an Education Ministry plan to expel students.

This video is about the 6 November 2014 Athens student demonstration.

The Nationwide Port Employee Federation (OMYLE) on Thursday held a 24-hour strike for all ports in Greece, in response to the privatisation of ports.

The employee federation also took part in a gathering in Klafthmonos Square in central Athens at noon on Thursday, followed by a march to the Ministry of Finances on Syntagma Square.

According to OMYLE: ‘For about a year now, the government and TAIPED are attempting to sell off OLP and OLTH, by auctioning off the majority of their share capital, thus turning the ports of Piraeus and Thessaloniki into private monopolies.’

Furthermore, the federation stresses that their struggle is not ‘trade unionist’, but rather an effort to highlight the importance of the port for social and financial growth, such as in tourism, shipping and the export/import trade.

Students occupied nearly six hundred high schools throughout Greece last Monday in protest against the New Lyceum legislation voted in by Greece’s parliament last year, which has radically overhauled the process of school and university entrance examinations. Chronic underfunding as well as a lack of teaching staff in many schools was also a factor in prompting the occupations: here.

WORKERS throughout Europe are taking strike actions against austerity measures in defence of their jobs, pay, pensions and public services: here.

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