Greek Seafarers National Strike!

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Seafarers and their supporters in front of the ferries at the Port of Piraeus early on Thursday morning 3 June

GREEK seafarers of the PENEN trade union (deck hands) staged a most important national strike last Thursday morning against a government Bill which wipes out the eight-hour day and imposes the dictatorship of the bosses, with workers obliged to work up to 15 hours a day, the extra seven hours unpaid.

The Bill states that workers will be compensated for the extra hours with more holiday hours.

This horrendous Bill is being fought tooth and nail by workers and youth but their fight has been completely undermined by the trade union bureaucracy of the GSEE (Greek TUC) and the ADEDY (public sector trade unions federation) along with the leaders of the Greek Communist Party (KKE) and its trade union section PAME.

A national strike against the Bill was called by the ADEDY and PAME for the 3rd June, only to be scrapped on June 2nd when the GSEE decided to call a 24-hour strike for this coming Thursday 10th June, despite demands that both 24-hour strikes should go on.

To their credit, the PENEN leaders decided to go ahead with the 24-hour strike on Thursday 3rd June, and this despite a Piraeus Court ruling declaring the strike ‘unlawful’.

Upon PENEN’s call, hundreds of seafarers, workers, youth and students gathered at the Piraeus port in the early hours last Thursday and blocked the ramps of the five ferries due to sail that morning.

They shouted slogans against the treacherous GSEE and ADEDY leaders and the PAME who aligned with them. There were also calls for the development of the struggle against the Bill with a general strike until it is withdrawn.

Port police forces were stationed around the Piraeus port while the PENEN leaders explained to the stranded tourists and travellers the aims of the strike, and got their support.

The PENEN union had issued a call to all trade unions and all workers and youth of Piraeus to come to support the strike. Hundreds did and no ferry was able to sail. The strike was successful.

The PENEN strike, despite the Court’s ruling and the GSEE, ADEDY, KKE-PAME boycott, has provided a basis for a fight to throw out those traitors and class collaborators.

PENEN have called for a 48-hour general strike along with the occupation of public buildings and mass rallies in city squares. They have also called for setting up a Centre of Fight to organise the struggle against the government and the GSEE leaders.

PENEN are now in the forefront and must call a Political General Strike next Thursday to get rid of the right wing Mitsotakis government.