On June 10, Thursday, the Greek working class observed a national strike and organized massive demonstrations across the country demanding the withdrawal of an anti-worker labor bill submitted in the parliament. In Athens, tens of thousands of people marched to the constitution square under the call given by trade unions including the All Workers Militant Front (PAME). Major mobilizations also took place in cities like Thessaloniki, Corfu, Heraklion, Larymna, Mytilene, Naxos, Kalamata, Larrisa, Volos, Trikala, Kardista, Elassona, Xanthi and Alexandroupolis. The Communist Party of Greece (KKE), Communist Youth of Greece (KNE), Students Struggle Front (MAS), and other progressive groups expressed solidarity with the protesting workers and demanded the government to withdraw the bill.
The new labor bill submitted to the Greek parliament last week by the conservative New Democracy (ND) government allows for employees to work up to 10 hours and an increase in overtime work, permits work on Sunday, and affects union activities including the right to strike. The voting on the bill in the plenary session of the parliament is expected to take place next week. The trade unions have given a call for another general strike and mobilization on June 16.
Following the general strike on Thursday, PAME stated, “from one end to the other, whole Greece “paralyzed” on June 10 as thousands of workers took part in the largest strike in recent years and in the rallies of Trade Unions, Federations and Regional Trade Union Centers, sending a message that workers can send to the trash the government’s anti-workers bill. The river of demonstrators also sent a message of immediate continuation and escalation of the struggle, under the slogan ‘Hands off from 8 hours, they are not for bargains and dialogues’.”
Meanwhile, in the plenary session of the European Parliament, Lefteris Nikolaou, Alavanos MEP from the KKE, stated in his speech that the New Democracy government’s labor bill implements EU guidelines, and called for the strengthening of the workers’ struggle to overthrow the anti-labor bill.
“Modern scientific and technological advances create enormous potential for improving the lives of workers. But capitalist exploitation, EU politics and bourgeois parties turn them into bondage for men and women, a tool for enhancing the exploitation of workers,” he said.
Many working class groups and trade unions across the word, including the Pancyprian Workers’ Federation (PEO), Unione Sindacale di Base (USB) Italia, Labor Center CGT 13 from France, Center of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), All India Central Council of Trade Unions (AICCTU), Petroleum Workers’ Union from Trinidad, Nigeria Labor Congress (NLC), and others, have expressed solidarity with PAME and the Greek working class in their fight against the anti-worker labor bill.