Greek Teachers Occupy!

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Armed riot police attack teachers outside the private office of the Reform Minister Mitsotakis   Photo credit: MARIOS LOLOS
Armed riot police attack teachers outside the private office of the Reform Minister Mitsotakis Photo credit: MARIOS LOLOS

ATHENS – Greek state secondary school teachers threatened with the sack occupied the private office of the Reforms Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis last Thursday in Athens.

Some 2,000 state secondary school teachers have been placed by the Greek government on the so-called ‘mobility schemes’ and are to be sacked this Monday.

The occupation ended at 11.00pm when teachers walked out of the Mitsotakis office.

According to the president of the state secondary school teachers trade union OLME, Themis Kosifakis, who took part in the occupation, the action demanded that not a single teacher is sacked next week. But the only thing he got was a meeting with Minister Mitsotakis on Friday morning.

Six armed riot police squads, police cars, vans and buses along with special riot police motorcyclists had surrounded the building of the office of Mitsotakis.

A public sector workers’ march of about 600 from central Athens was stopped by riot police, and marchers were not allowed to unite with those already at the entrance to the Mitsotakis office. Riot police then used their shields and tear-gas spray guns to push everyone further away.

The Mitsotakis office occupation proved to be the highlight of the public sector workers’ strike called by the ADEDY (public sector trades unions federations) against mass sackings, ‘mobility schemes’, teachers and staff evaluation, and the closure of state institutions as ordered by the EC-IMF-ECB troika, the overlords of the Greek parliamentary junta.

During the march and outside the Mitsotakis office, workers shouted chants and slogans against the EC and the IMF, and called for the overthrow of the government in sharp contrast to the official trade union line for ‘the overthrow of the government’s policies’, which is supported by both SYRIZA (the Coalition of the Radical Left party) and KKE (the Greek Communist Party).

The most popular chant shouted was ‘Austerity Accords in Greece, Nazis in the Ukraine – that’s the European Union’s Democracy!’

In a statement, the Greek Trotskyists of the Revolutionary Marxist League (RML) have called on workers to demonstrate at the ADEDY and the GSEE (Greek TUC) to demand that the general strike designated for 6th April starts this Monday as an indefinite strike to bring down the Greek coalition government.  

Earlier in the morning, archeologists, conservators, draughtsmen and administrative workers of the Ministry for Culture and Sport demonstrated outside the Acropolis Museum but were stopped by armed riot police from continuing their mobilisation on the Acropolis itself.

Statement issued by workers of the Greek Ministry for Culture and Sport:

‘Stop Human Sacrifices in Greece.

The Troika give the orders, our government executes them: another 50,000 civil servants must be fired, like modern Iphigenias, in order to satisfy the markets.

Cultural heritage services have to shrink, so that our economy reaches the targets of the “rescue” programme.

Today, at 19,000 archaeological sites and 210 museums all over Greece, there are 6,900 archeologists, art historians, anthropologists, conservators, museologists, engineers, administration staff, guards, excavation workers employed: our wages are falling, our colleagues on short-contract got fired, all services are facing a serious shortage of staff and money and even the most basic needs are met with difficulty.

When you visit an archaeological site, a monument or a museum, when you go to a concert, a play or an art performance, have you ever wondered how many people have workers so that you are able to enjoy your visit?

Behind the scenes you will find all kinds of working people, you will find us. The monuments have a voice, our own!

Please help us to stop this crime and unite your voice with ours. Let’s say NO to the policies that wish to privatise all cultural and social goods, creating nothing than poverty and misery to the people in Greece and elsewhere in Europe! LET’S STOP THEM!’