STOP SCHOOL CLOSURES – STOP SACKING TEACHERS – demand Greek teaching unions

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State secondary school teachers on the Athens march last Tuesday evening
State secondary school teachers on the Athens march last Tuesday evening

THOUSANDS of state secondary school teachers demonstrated throughout Greece on Tuesday night against the coalition government’s Education Bill for secondary education, schools closures and thousands of teachers sacked.

The reactionary Education Bill imposes a 19th century school system of continuous exams and large classes where teachers would have to work more hours and teach different lessons.

Technical and arts lessons have been taken out of the curriculum.

In Athens, over 3,000 teachers and supporters from both the private and public sector demonstrated outside the Vouli (Greek parliament) as government parliamentary deputies approved by a slim majority the Education Bill.

The secondary teachers’ union OLME national conference decided on Monday night by 72 votes against six for indefinite national strike action starting next Monday.

The Greek Communist Party (KKE) voted against, instead calling for just a 48-hour strike.

Both the Athens Polytechnic (Technical University) and the Athens University, the two biggest universities in Greece, are not functioning since staff, professors and lecturers have declared a week’s strike against staff dismissals.

Technical College staff are also on strike.

Workers at Pensions Funds and at some civil service departments have also decided on strike action.

The Public Sector Trades Unions Federation ADEDY have declared a national two-day strike for next Tuesday and Wednesday against the mass sackings.

The Greek coalition government on orders from the troika of EC-IMF-ECB are pushing through with the closure and privatisation of the two major industrial complexes; the Greek Defence Industry (EBO) with three large factories employing more than 5,000 workers, and the LARKO mineral and stainless steel company of four mines and two huge factories in Larymna, central Greece, a village specially build in the 1950s for LARKO workers.

The Mayor of the area has called for a People’s Assembly of all residents at Larymna.

EBO workers demonstrated in Athens on Tuesday against privatisation and closure.

It should be noted that EBO factories are equipped with modern machinery and are capable of producing train cars, buses and all kinds of large vehicles, although engines have to be imported.

The GSEE (Greek TUC) have once again issued just protest statements.

In May, Greek state secondary school teachers voted by over 90 per cent for an indefinite strike, but the government put them under the dictatorial law of ‘civil mobilisation’ under the pretext of a ‘national emergency’.

This law forbids strikes.

The leaders of the teachers’ union, OLME, backed down and called off the strike despite the massive vote in favour.

Now the teachers’ strike is unfolding under vastly developed circumstances as the Greek coalition government have unleashed a new wave of their counter-revolutionary attacks and the imperialists have been calling for war against Syria.

It is the deepening of the world economic crisis that dictates the attacks, but it has become crystal clear that the working class internationally have responded massively against poverty and unemployment.

This resistance has defeated Cameron’s war plans and has forced Obama into a political crisis.

Likewise in Greece, workers’ strike action is building up against the coalition government.

But there is no doubt that the Greek government-junta are preparing vicious attacks in tandem with the no-action course of the treacherous trade union bureaucracy.

What dominates demonstrations in Greece are the calls for ‘indefinite general strike’ and ‘get rid of the government’.

But these calls are being disregarded by the bureaucrats of the GSEE, ADEDY and also by the OLME leaders who call for the ‘overthrow of government policies’ deliberately misleading and confusing workers in the heart of the struggle.

The Trotskyists of the Revolutionary Marxist League, the Greek section of the ICFI, say that a revolutionary situation requires revolutionary leadership for victory, and that’s an immediate and prime issue.