WORKERS at the Greek Finance Ministry early on Tuesday morning occupied the Finance Ministry building in central Athens.
They are protesting against huge wage cuts and mass sackings planned by the Greek government under orders from the EC-IMF-ECB troika.
The decision to occupy was taken at a joint meeting of three trades unions federations, the civil servants, the inland revenue, and customs.
They are to hold a general meeting where future action will be debated.
Their action is part of a crucial battle that is raging within the Greek trades union movement against the treacherous stand of the GSEE (Greek TUC) and the ADEDY (Greek public sector workers federation).
On Monday night Athens Metro workers decided on rolling 48-hour strikes to start when the government announces the new austerity measures package.
At the tense meeting a motion for the occupation of the GSEE building was lost by just two votes.
At the same time, the Coordination of Trades Unions held its own meeting with over 70 trades unions delegates present including executive members from the local government workers’ union, the railway workers’ union, ship repairs and ports trade unions.
It was decided that delegates should attend the meeting at the GSEE today initiated by the powerful YENOP (energy and mines) trades union.
The YENOP executive is calling on the GSEE bureaucrats to decide ‘a programme of strike action’ otherwise YENOP will call on all trades unions federation to organise it themselves.
GSEE and ADEDY have responded with a call to the government for dialogue and have set up a rally in central Athens next Monday evening.
This is regarded as completely inadequate by several trades unions federations and the meeting at GSEE today will be stormy.
The Greek Communist Party (KKE) is campaigning for another one-day strike and is calling a rally for today while the Coordination of Trades Unions will be holding a rally this Saturday evening.
On Monday the troika representatives met with the Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and once again differences were apparent.
The essence was expressed by the Greek Finance Minister Yiannis Sournaras who stated after the meeting, according to the Greek bourgeois press, that if the government fully obeys the troika demands then it will fall.
Samaras is flying to Paris tomorrow and he hopes that at the Euro summit on 18 October a ‘political solution’ to the new austerity measures package can be reached.
The latest Eurostat figures showed that Greek youth unemployment, in the 15-25 age group, has now reached 55.4 per cent.
This is the highest in Europe, while dairy products in Greece were the dearest in Europe last year.
Eurostat reported that the price of some foodstuffs is 31.5 per cent higher than the European average.