Socialist Worker

Greece: Workers occupy to block cutters

Published Tue 4 Oct 2011
Issue No. 2272

Greek civil service workers occupied their ministries last week, blocking the way for the cutters.

International “bailout inspectors” arrived in Athens on Thursday to go through the books of various ministries.

They were aiming to prepare the ground for further cuts, in line with July’s bailout agreement.

Workers at the finance ministry hung out a banner reading, “Occupation. Enough is enough. We want to live.”

By the next day “They shall not pass” was spray-painted on the ministry’s closed metal shutters. The inspectors have yet to find a way in.

Panos Garganas, editor of Socialist Worker’s sister newspaper Workers Solidarity, said, “More than 7,000 workers took part. They occupied five ministries.

“On Tuesday morning six ministries went back into occupation. They’ll come out to join the public sector strike on Wednesday, but plan to reoccupy on Thursday.”

The action is run from below, he added. “Whether it is for one day or indefinite depends on the workers in each ministry.”

On Tuesday 1,000 people blocked the street outside the development ministry in a demonstration to support the occupations.

Across town, public sector workers rallied in Nea Ionia. They were supporting local authority employees who have been occupying town halls.

A cabinet meeting last Sunday forecast that Greece will go into recession again, and so needs even harsher cuts to keep “on target”.

The government plans to lay off another 30,000 public sector workers as soon as it can push the plans through parliament.

The whole public sector was due to strike on Wednesday. Two weeks later, on 19 October, workers have called a general strike for both public and private sectors.

Panos said, “Most people are still responding through channels laid down by the official trade union movement. But there is a growing push for all-out action.

“You hear this from the people who occupied the ministries. Their meetings are demanding that the occupations are extended.”

Elsewhere, the assembly of bus drivers is now set to decide whether to strike for an extended period.

Train drivers in Athens struck for two days last week.


Article information

International
Tue 4 Oct 2011, 18:02 BST
Issue No. 2272
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