Sacked cleaners occupy Ministry!

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Sacked cleaners occupying the Greek Finance Ministry barricaded themselves in and chained the doors to keep the riot police out. Photo credit: MARIAS LOLOS
Sacked cleaners occupying the Greek Finance Ministry barricaded themselves in and chained the doors to keep the riot police out. Photo credit: MARIAS LOLOS

THE sacked cleaners of the Greek Finance Ministry are continuing the occupation of a ministry building in central Athens since Thursday morning.

They have barricade themselves inside the building while outside dozens of other cleaners are on guard along with hundreds of workers, trade unionist and youth who have come in solidarity.

Cleaners have appealed to trade unions and workers’ committees to support the occupation.

Last week, an Athens Court declared ‘illegal’ the sacking and the placing of the 595 cleaners in the so-called ‘mobility schemes’, to be permanently sacked after eight months. The Court also ordered the immediate reinstatement of the cleaners.

But the Finance Minister Yiannis Stournaras, an elected Cabinet member imposed by the EC-IMF-ECB troika, has refused to accept the Court’s decision.

In a Finance Ministry press release on Wednesday, the Ministry said that they would appeal against the decision directly to the Arios Pagos, Greece’s High Court.

The Ministry have refused to launch an appeal to a second tier Athens Court because they are afraid they would lose the case once again.

In recent years, Arios Pagos has a record of supporting the government’s laws almost universally deemed unconstitutional by constitution experts and professors.

On Thursday morning, many trade union delegations visited the cleaners’ occupation including Piraeus’ port workers, sacked school teachers and schools’ guards, tax offices workers, university administrative staff and media technicians.

On the occupied Finance Ministry’ glass door entrance, cleaners have stuck two messages of their aim and of their way to achieve it. One reads ‘The Court’s Decision Must be Implemented Now’, and the other simply ‘Occupation’. Cleaners and their supporters shouted slogans such as ‘We are here until victory!’ and ‘With the cleaners in the front line for the overthrow!’.

Nearby, armed riot police contingents are stationed.