Greek Default – 250,000 Jobs Under Threat

Greek workers and students marching against massive cuts
Greek workers and students marching against massive cuts

AS European Commission officials and European leaders prepare a Greek default, Greek ministers have outlined barbaric plans for the wholesale destruction of public services and the sacking of some 250,000 public sector workers and civil servants in the next few months.

As a first immediate step, the Papandreou government is to wipe out 30 per cent of all state departments!

Inspectors of the European Commission have been arriving in Greece and are positioned in every Ministry to make sure that the plans of mass sackings, huge wage cuts, closures and privatisations are carried out.

The EC inspectors’ ‘Task Force’ is headed by the Vice-President of the European Bank for Restructuring and Development, Horst Reichenbach.

Already, over 150 public sector organisations and institutions in the social services, research and arts sectors have been closed down and all staff made redundant.

About a third of state TV channels and radio stations are to be shut. All civil service departments and public enterprises are being ordered to sack at least ten per cent of all employees as a first step towards ‘reorganisation’ of departments. The government plans to pay no redundancy compensation at all.

A 15 per cent cut on all public sector workers’ wages has been imposed; about 20 per cent of their wages were reduced earlier this year.

All Greek taxpayers’ families have been served with notices to pay immediately to the state an average of about 800 euros each as a ‘solidarity levy’! Already, Greek workers’ families have received enormous tax bills.

Half of all temporary contract workers in the public sector are to be sacked in the next few weeks. The other half will be made redundant in the next three years according to the government’s schemes.

Town Councils have also been ordered to impose mass redundancies.

The government is ‘opening up’ the taxi and lorry services in effect allowing big business to form taxi and lorry companies which would destroy the current small family run businesses.

Last Tuesday evening thousands of taxi drivers held an angry rally outside the Vouli (Greek parliament). Athens Municipality transport and refuge short-contract workers are carrying out occupations of depots.

Primary and secondary teachers have decided a 24-hour national strike for 22 September and a 48-hour strike early next month against education cuts, teacher shortages and wage cuts.

As university students are continuing the occupation of over two thirds of all departments throughout Greece, the government has launched a smear campaign through the media against the students who demand the immediate withdrawal of the Education Law.

• Eurozone finance ministers are gathering in Wroclaw, Poland, today to seek agreement on several crisis-fighting measures to prevent Greece and other southern European states defaulting.