THE Greek state secondary teachers’ national strike, which began on Monday, is spreading and deepening attracting other sections of workers.
Primary state school teachers declared a 48-hour strike for Tuesday and Wednesday along with state hospital doctors, university administrative staff and ministries’ civil servants.
The Greek Federation of Secondary School Teachers (OLME) issued the following letter ahead of their strike action.
‘To: International Organisations and Trade Unions
‘Athens, 10 September 2013
‘Greek teachers’ strikes as of September 16th 2013.
‘OLME is launching a five-day rolling strike as of September 16th following the decision of the teachers’ general assemblies. At the end of each five-day strike, the teachers’ general assemblies will take stock of the situation and then decide on the course of the strike action.
‘The situation in public schools is dramatic:
‘There are 16,000 fewer teachers in secondary education meaning a 20% reduction since June 2013.
‘102 Vocational Education Schools are closing down
‘2,500 Vocational Education Teachers are being suspended – just a step before dismissals.
‘In 2009, there was a 33% reduction in spending on education which is expected to reach 47% in 2016.
‘There is a compulsory transfer of 5,000 teachers to primary education and administration posts.
‘The government has passed a new law on education without dialogue, establishing a harsh, examination-centred system in all forms/grades of upper secondary education forcing students to seek private tuition outside school and leading to school dropouts. The government proceeds to:
‘The privatisation of a part of Vocational Education.
‘The introduction of apprenticeship as a form of minor/under-age employment replacing the education process.
‘OLME intends to create a Solidarity Fund to support teachers on strike.
‘We would appreciate your support.’
In several areas throughout Greece, school students have occupied their schools.
Likewise civil servants in Athens were holding rallies early on Tuesday morning outside ministry buildings calling for occupations.
Secondary school teachers had organised local marches and rallies outside State Education Directorates in every area intending to occupy.
The public sector trades unions federation ADEDY has declared a 48-hour national strike for Wednesday and today (Thursday) while the GSEE (Greek TUC) have called just a four-hour stoppage for Wednesday, the day of a march in Athens.
The Greek coalition government has announced that it intends to sack a further 20,000 teachers and tens of thousands of local government workers and civil servants in the next few months.
Prime Minister Antonis Samaras flew to Brussels on Tuesday for talks with the EC.
The Revolutionary Marxist League, Greek Section of the International Committee of the Fourth International, released a statement on Wednesday calling for ‘the victory of the teachers’ strike!’
The statement said: ‘Bring down the government-junta of the EC and IMF with an indefinite political general strike!
‘With overwhelming majorities, Greek state secondary school teachers voted for a five-day “rolling” indefinite national strike to protect state free education and their jobs.
‘Their historic decision has the full support of the working class and youth.
‘The teachers’ trade unions federation OLME and the Central Strike Committee have organised a week of activities and are calling on parents and school students in the fight which is a fight for all.
‘Hospital workers, civil servants and local government workers are also joining the strike as they are sacked en masse by the coalition government-junta of the New Democracy conservatives and of the PASOK social-democrats who are carrying out the orders of the EC-IMF-ECB troika.
‘It is clear that if they are to win, teachers, civil servants and local government workers cannot fight alone or separately. A United Front of all public sector workers is needed which will fight alongside workers in the private sector.
‘Since last May, when teachers voted for strike action but their leaders refused to carry it out, the situation has changed. The deepening of the economic collapse of capitalism has brought slump throughout the EU, dictatorial measures against workers and war threats against Syria. But in the USA and in Europe workers suffering poverty and mass unemployment rose up against war and forced the imperialists to retreat; now Putin is trying to save them.
‘Workers in Greece are ready for the fight till victory, for the overthrow of the Austerity Accords of the coalition government-junta. The teachers’ and civil servants’ strike must be developed into an Indefinite Political General Strike for the overthrow of the junta. There must be no sell-out as last May.
‘The state forces, the secret services, the capitalist media along with the fascists of Golden Dawn are conspiring to break the strikes.
‘The trade union bureaucracy of the GSEE (Greek TUC) and ADEDY (public sector trades unions federation) are consciously hindering the unity and the victory of the strikers. This bureaucracy must be thrown out of the movement by mass strikers’ action.
‘The trade union and labour movement must declare war on imperialism’s war plans and to the class war of the Greek government of Prime Minister Samaras.
‘There is no solution within the EU and capitalism.
‘Only a revolutionary socialist government of workers and small farmers, based on trade unions and Peoples Assemblies, can satisfy the demands of all workers by the nationalisation of the banks, the write off of the national debt in the framework of a planned economy.
‘For this a Marxist revolutionary party is needed to lead workers, small farmers and youth to state power.
‘Join and build the Revolutionary Marxist League which is devoted to this task.’