300 University Departments Occupied!

A section of the students’ and workers’ march in Athens
A section of the students’ and workers’ march in Athens

GREEK students are deepening and extending their fight against the government’s Education Law passed by the Greek Vouli (parliament) last month.

Over 300 university departments were under students’ occupation throughout Greece last Thursday when the Athens students mounted a most militant demonstration of over 4,000, including a large contingent of university lecturers and secondary education teachers.

There was also a delegation of national health service doctors who are staging a national 48-hour strike against the government’s plans for the obliteration of the public health sector.

Secondary schools are to start the new academic year next week, but no textbooks have been distributed by the Education Ministry while thousands of teachers’ posts remained unfilled.

The Education Minister Anna Diamantopoulou said that ‘textbooks’ photocopies’ would be sent to schools.

Her comments made thousands of angry parents, teachers and students to besiege the Ministry building last Thursday.

In an extraordinary statement, a High Court judge said that months ago he had written to the Education Minister regarding the need to purchase paper for the textbooks, implying that no action was taken by the Minister.

So-called short-contract workers of the Athens City Council have also gone on indefinite strike and have occupied a municipal administration building fighting against the Athens Mayor’s decision to sack all 2,000 of them.

But last Thursday the German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble, the Eurogroup head Jean Claude Junker and other EU officials renewed their diktats and threats to the Greek government to immediately implement privatisations and the sacking of tens of thousands of public sector workers.

In an interview to the Bild newspaper, the EC’s Commissioner for Energy, Gunther Oettinger, said that EC technocrats should be imposed on Greek Ministries to implement and speed up privatisations and sackings.

In an unprecedented outburst the Health Minister Andreas Loverdos stated in the Vouli that the Greek Constitution protects the public sector ‘bureaucracy’ and workers and that it has become a hindrance to the ‘structural reforms’ needed today in Greece; Loverdos is a Professor on the Greek Constitution at an Athens University.

Hundreds of public sector doctors and hospital staff besieged the Health Ministry building yesterday, Friday, demanding that Loverdos retracts his comments.

Workers believe that the Greek government and its masters in the IMF and the European Union have drawn up plans for declaring a ‘state of emergency’ in Greece.