|The News Line: News
Monday, 6 August 2012
GREEK BANK STRIKE – as coalition turns on immigrants
THOUSANDS of Greek bank workers are continuing their strike against privatisation and will be joined by Postal Bank workers who are holding a one-day strike and stoppages throughout this week.
At a mass workers’ meeting last Friday in Athens the executive of the SEATE trade union at the Agrarian Bank of Greece (ATE) unanimously decided to continue the indefinite national strike against the privatisation of the Bank.
The mass meeting took place following another demonstration under a scorching sun through Athens city centre, this time together with Postal Bank workers – another state bank to be privatised.
Meanwhile, a German newspaper reported last Thursday that the European Central Bank (ECB) decided to give Greece an extra 4bn euros this month so that matured state bonds of 3.2bn euros can be paid by August 20.
The ATE bank privatisation was discussed last Friday at a parliamentary committee where it emerged that the plan of the Bank of Greece, which oversees the whole of the bank sector, is to split the ATE bank into ‘healthy’ and ‘rotten’ parts.
The ‘healthy’ one is to be sold off for just 95m euros (the estimated value of ATE bank’s HQs in Athens) to the private Piraeus Bank, a completely bankrupt bank that has received over 15bn euros in the last two years from the so-called bailout fund agreement between the EC-IMF-ECB and Greece.
A recent study has shown that the Greek government has given 218bn euros to the banks since December 2008, that is the amount of Greece’s GNP!
Michalis Sallas, the president and managing director of the Piraeus Bank, plans to sack all 5,500 ATE bank workers and then re-employ them on ‘flexible’ labour conditions at a take-home monthly starvation wage of just 700-800 euros (on average about £600).
The OTOE (federation of bank workers’ unions) have limited themselves to issuing a morally supportive press release to the ATE and Postal Bank workers, while once again, the GSEE (Greek TUC) have remained silent.
But at the marches and rallies the issue of a General Strike is being discussed and proposed – although ignored by the trade union bureaucracy.
The EC-IMF-ECB-imposed three-party coalition government of conservative prime minister Antonis Samaras last Thursday unleashed an unprecedented attack against immigrant workers and their families in the capital Athens, and on the Greek-Turkish border.
The Athens city centre and adjacent poor workers’ distrcits have been under the occupation of armed riot police squads who have arrested over 1,500 persons in the last three days.
Most of them have been taken to the Amygdaleza immigrants’ concentration camp near Athens to be swiftly thrown out of Greece this week.
At the Greek-Turkish border, where Greece is building an Israeli-inspired wall, thousands have been rounded up and taken to nearby towns and imprisoned in police stations and installations.
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