OVER 1,500 workers and youth were present at a solidarity concert in Athens last Thursday evening for the sacked workers at ERT (Greek state TV and Radio corporation). Several top Greek singers and musicians, of all musical idioms, performed.
The audience was addressed by Johannes Studinger, Head of the UNI MEI Global Union (press and performers world federation), and by the President of EURO-MEI William Maunier.
Both trade union leaders stated that journalists and theatre workers all over the world support the ERT workers’ struggle and both insisted that ERT must be re-opened with all workers reinstated on wages and conditions according to collective national agreements, a call that brought tremendous applause from the audience.
The President of ERT workers’ union POSPERT, Panagiotis Kalfayiannis, and the President of the Greek Journalists’ federation Yiorghos Savvides also spoke, emphasising that they will fight all the way until they win.
Banners from workers in struggles against mass sackings, such as cleaners, civil servants, school guards, teachers and others, were hung around the indoor arena where the concert took place.
Youth unemployment for 15-24-year-olds in Greece reached a stunning 61.4 per cent last November, a new high according to the Greek Statistics Authority ELSTAT. Overall unemployment reached 28 per cent, up from 27.7 per cent last October and from 26.3 per cent in November 2012.
ELSTAT say that 1.38 million people are out of work but the GSEE’s (Greek TUC) Labour Institute states that unemployment is over 30 per cent. GSEE say that only 10 per cent of those out of work receive full unemployment benefit.
Last Tuesday, the Reforms Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis insisted that the Greek government will carry out the EC-IMF-ECB troika’s orders for 15,000 sackings this year in the public sector, mostly in local government and state education.
In the private sector, Khalivourgiki, the biggest steel and metal-producing plant in Greece, announced that over 200 workers are to have their wages cut by 20 per cent and placed on leave for two months.