Down With The Imf Junta Say Athens Workers

Workers at the Tuesday evening demonstration in Athens. The banner reads ‘The austerity measures shall not pass’
Workers at the Tuesday evening demonstration in Athens. The banner reads ‘The austerity measures shall not pass’

Over five thousand public sector workers marched through the Athens city centre last Tuesday evening against the government’s appeal to the IMF.

Throughout the militant march workers shouted slogans against the ‘junta of the IMF’ and demanded that ‘the rich should pay for the crisis’.

When the march reached the Vouli (Greek parliament) building a large contingent of teachers blockaded one of the entrances, set on fire a European Union flag and shouted slogans against a government Education Bill which would not re-employ in the coming academic years tens of thousands of ‘seasonal’ teachers.

In the early afternoon thousands of bus, metro and tram drivers and staff marched to the Ministry for Labour demanding the scrapping of the government’s austerity measures.

It was then announced that the GSEE (Greek TUC) and the ADEDY (public sector trade unions federations) have called yet another one-day general strike for Wednesday, May 5th.

For the rest of the week primary school teachers will be staging daily 4-hour stoppages.

Radio stations technicians have just concluded a 48-hour national strike against sackings and to demand the signing of the new collective agreement.

At the end of Tuesday, the Athens stock market had crashed by six per cent with bank shares losing nearly ten per cent.

The financial agency Standard and Poor’s devalued the borrowing credibility of Greece to the lowest ever BB+, the so-called ‘junk’ category.

The panic spread to scores of people withdrawing their bank deposits.

Standard and Poor’s say that there is only a 30-50 per cent chance for holders of Greek state bonds to get their money back.

German and US financial institutions estimate that Greece would need over 150 billion euros in the next three years to avoid declaring bankruptcy.

The Greek bourgeois press reported German bankers and politicians as stating that Greece cannot avoid the worst.

But both the IMF director Strauss-Kahn and the European Central Bank chief Jean Claude Trichet are preparing a three-year financial package on condition that the Greek government lashes out with savage cuts of wages and pensions, destroys the welfare state, health and education system as well as sacking literally hundreds of thousands of workers.

Greek trade unions are now preparing mass rallies and demonstrations for May Day.