LARCO Industrial Workers Protest At Mass Sackings!

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LARCO workers marching to the Vouli (Greek parliament) last Thursday. The banner reads ‘LARCO operational – work for all’

IN an unprecedented 12 hours long rally under a scorching sun and temperatures exceeding 45ºC, hundreds of LARCO industrial workers and miners, along with thousands of supporters, protested last Thursday outside the Vouli (Greek parliament) in Athens against a Bill which allows the sacking of all 850 workers.

The Bill was passed by the government majority of 9 very late on Thursday night, but defiant LARCO trade union leaders stated that the struggle goes on and vowed that they will fight for their jobs and keep the large industrial complex in central Greece and mines operational.

LARCO is the largest factory in Europe producing nickel and related products. The Greek government, under instructions from the EU, is in the process of finalising the selling of LARCO (industries, port and mines) to two or three different companies.

Outside the Vouli last Thursday, LARCO workers were joined by many delegations of workers and students.

The Athens and Piraeus Trades Council as well as the ADEDY (Public sector workers’ federation) had called 4-hour stoppages. The OME (Greek Miners Federation) has called a 24-hour strike also in support of the miners at the Greek Gold (a Canadian company) mines in northern Greece who are on strike demanding a 20% increase and Collective Agreement.

On Thursday Greek Gold miners decided on a 48-hour strike for next Monday and Tuesday. This is developing in the biggest struggle at the gold mines of northern Greece.

The President of OME Dimitris Batis has repeatedly called for the GSEE (Greek TUC) to call a strike in support of the fighting miners and metalworkers, but the GSEE leaders could only issue a short statement of support to LARCO workers.

Panagiotis Politis, the President of the workers’ trade union at the LARCO industrial complex, speaking late on Thursday night at the rally outside the Vouli, declared that ‘the Bill was passed, but workers have made it clear with their struggle that it will remain on paper’. He said: ‘We showed to the government that we stand firm and now we are preparing for a clash’.

Politis said that in the next few days LARCO workers will hold mass meetings to decide on their actions.

Politis, a supporter of the Greek Communist Party, has accepted the privatisation of LARCO hoping that the new bosses would keep the workforce on. Despite calls from some union members and from other trade unions, Politis and the LARCO trade unions have refused to call on the GSEE to declare a general strike.