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Low participation in the Pan-Hellenic public sector strike

19 December 2012 / 19:12:26  GRReporter
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Anastasia Balezdrova

Today's strike procession in Athens went ahead peacefully and with low participation. Several hundred people gathered in Klafthmonos Square, heard unionists' impassioned speeches and continued to the Parliament building.

The 24-hour strike was organised by the trade union of workers in the public sector ADEDY. In order to support it, the trade union of workers in the private sector GSEE announced a three-hour work stoppage. However, the protest was attended by less than one thousand people.

A lot of the people were not even protesting civil servants, but members of leftist organisations and parties that do not attend all protests.

Trade unions mainly insisted on the abolishment of the new tax law, which they described as a "tax guillotine", termination of suspension of work for some employees, which would mean the beginning of lay-offs in the public sector for them, and revocation of privatisations.

Once again, municipal employees were the most active of all and led the procession, took the front row opposite the police cordon on Vassilis Sofias Avenue and were shouting loud slogans against politicians. Some of their colleagues once again organised a motor vehicle procession.

The most extravagant protesters were the employees of the Ministry of Culture. They had two lines of hung out underwear on which was written: "Take these, too" alluding to the saying "They even took our underpants."

"Today's protest is directed against the new memorandum, tax measures and, in general, against all policies destroying our lives. So we decided to send a message to politicians, although they will hardly get it. By this "piece of art", we want to show them that we cannot tolerate more severe measures," said for GRReporter restorer in the Byzantine Museum in Athens Vassilis Bakalis.

Some of the employees directly insisted on the resignation of the government. "There should be new elections. The government promised different things, and now they are applying different policies and unconstitutional measures," said an official in the regional government of Attica. He said that civil servants are ready to be redeployed in offices where there is not enough staff.

Shortly afterwards, the protest of the trade union of the Communist Party PAME also arrived at Syntagma Square. The participants shouted slogans against the government, the European Union and capitalism. But while their fellows protested against lay-offs, Rizospastis newspaper (or, Radical - Author's Note), which is the official organ of the party, announced staff cuts. In a special article, it stated that "cuts are inevitable in order to continue to issue the organ of the Central Committee of the KKE."

Then the author of this article started a tirade against criticism by other media against cuts in the Communist Party media. The party recently closed its television channel 902 and cut staff at the radio of the same name. The explanation was that the crisis had affected the party finances and that, since Rizospastis, 902 and Tipoekdotiki Publishing House are not "capitalist firms but companies and tools for propaganda of the policies and positions of the Greek Communist Party," cuts will primarily hurt the party.

The strike will be more tangible tomorrow, since employees in the subway, electric train and tram transport will not be working. The 48-hour strike of the Greek railways OSE and the suburban train is also continuing.

Tags: Society strike trade union civil servants left parties
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