Greek Decree For Mass Sackings & Wage Cuts

Athens University students marching on the May Day demonstration
Athens University students marching on the May Day demonstration

The Greek government of Prime Minister Yiorghos Papandreou has unveiled the contents of a Presidential Decree which would allow for mass sackings, at half of the current compensation rate, and then let companies hire 15-25 year olds at wages far less than today’s so-called ‘minimum wage’.

When the President of the Greek Republic signs the Decree, firms will be free to sack hundreds of thousands of workers, with a pittance as compensation, and then employ youths at 470 euros a month (around £415)!

The European Statistics institute announced that inflation in Greece has reached 5.4 per cent, the highest in the European Union, while unemployment this quarter rose by an incredible 25 per cent as compared to last year.

The Greek government has also announced that the Pensions Bill, which destroys the state pensions system, would be presented to be voted upon in the Vouli (Greek parliament) at the end of this month.

The bureaucratic leaders of the GSEE (Greek TUC) and of the ADEDY (public sector trades unions federation) have called another one-day general strike for Thursday 29 June, following weeks of total inactivity which allowed the representatives of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), European Central Bank (ECB) and the European Commission (EC), to move freely about Athens and carry out discussions with the Greek government.

This gave the opportunity to Papandreou to declare that his government was doing all it could ‘for Greece’, against the pressures for harder austerity measures from the imperialist agencies.

Greek workers are furious at these developments but they have been held back not just by the GSEE-ADEDY traitors, but also by the Stalinist Greek Communist Party and by the Left trade union leaders and parties.

The willingness for an all-out struggle against the government is being clearly expressed in many strikes throughout Greece now. The Athens Metro workers are continuing their ‘indefinite strike’ against the mass sacking of 275 workers whose short-contracts are running out in August. The Metro management won an order from the courts declaring the strike ‘illegal’ but workers are carrying on despite total lack of support from the GSEE.

At Shelman, a furniture factory some 50 miles north of Athens, workers are now in the second week of their rock solid strike against sackings. They say they have to win otherwise they would lose both their jobs and their union.

Secondary school teachers are continuing for the second week their strike refusing to mark the national students’ examination unless they get paid. State hospital doctors are continuing their strike despite the fact that the state hospitals trade union federation refuses to call out hospitals’ staff and workers.