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Crackdown on Greek metro workers sparks solidarity

by Dave Sewell

Workers across Greece were set to strike on Thursday of this week following a government clampdown on striking metro workers in Athens.

Early on Friday morning of last week, hundreds of police in Athens raided the central metro station which striking workers were occupying.

Officers handed every worker an order from the government to return to work or face a prison sentence.

This marks a dramatic new escalation of authoritarian measures by the Greek government to force through austerity.

The rest of the city’s transport workers responded immediately with a solid strike on the same day.

“The strike is absolutely effective,” said Panos Garganas, editor of the Workers Solidarity newspaper.

“There are only private cars in Athens today—no buses, no trams and no electric trains.”

Bus workers have already extended their action into this week.

Now power workers and rail workers have called national strikes for Thursday of this week.

Hospital workers were already set to strike on the day against closures, and seafarers over their national wage agreements.

Education, local government and civil service workers will join them for four hours, and the power workers’ union is demanding a general strike.

Workers across the publicly owned utilities face a pay cut as part of the government’s latest agreement with the “Troika”.

This is the European Union, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund.

The agreement was voted through parliament almost three months ago—but the battle over its implementation is still on.

“There’s pressure building for a general strike,” said Panos. “But in the meantime Thursday will effectively be a mini general strike directed from below.”


Article information

International
Fri 15 Mar 2013, 15:32 GMT
Issue No. 2338
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