They returned to work as winners!
After an 118-day strike they returned to work, having defied the 22% cuts employment attempted to impose
26 July 2012
After an 118-day strike, workers in the Recycling Factory in the Herakleion Industrial Zone have returned to work as winners. The company, under the pressure and struggle of the workers, but also the impact of class solidarity, was forced to negotiate and to accept the basic demand of the workers. In other words, to restore day wages to pre-January 2012 levels, before the imposition of a 22% pay cut.
Let us remind readers that the workers began their struggle on the 29th of March, because they did not accept working amidst the trash for 450 euros a month, the result of a 22% salary cut that the employers (EPANA LTD) had imposed, taking advantage of the decision of the ND-PASOK government to allow the unilateral imposition of wage cuts.
The determination, the intransigent struggle of workers and the class solidarity displayed under the leadership of the Union of Private Sector Employees and the All Workers Militant Front during this entire period contributed to the success of the strike. Since yesterday, the workers crossed the gates of the factory once more, having won an important victory.
Message of the strikers to all workers
On the wake of these events, the Union Committee of Workers in Recycling in Herakleion issued a statement, a message to all workers. This reads as follows:
We, the strikers of EPANA Ltd Recycling are the winners of 118 days of harsh class struggle!
It was a struggle against the 22% wage cuts imposed by EPANA Ltd, a struggle that crossed the gates of our factory and that expresses the entire working class of our country, since the attack this class suffers as a result of the barbaric measures of the government is the same attack we had to cope with here.
During these 118 days of our strike, we had to fight both Gods and demon; yet we stood our ground and coped with all the difficulties we had to face.
We fought against the spirit of defeatism and subjection, promulgated by employment and its lackeys from the very beginning of the strike. We fought against the effort to criminalize our struggle through lawsuits, in an attempt to declare our strike illegal and illegitimate.
We dealt with the difficulties of our long-term strike bearing our heads high, in pride. We guarded our strike, on a 24-hour basis, and under any weather conditions. We dealt with the economic hardship that results out of four months of striking. We coped with the provocations of the employer's lackeys and with its threats that it will shut down the factory if it can't have its way.
We also had to deal with the intentional indifference of the Municipality of Heracleion, Crete, that smiled artfully in order to save (popular) face, but in reality exerted no pressure to resolve the issue.
We coped with the hostile attitude of the majority of the administration of the Heracleion Labor Center, particularly that of its president and secretary, who on several occasions fought against us, going so far as to defend the strike-breaking apparatus of the company.
We were not alone
We were not alone. We had on our side, as we will continue to have, our Union, the Union of Private Employees of Heracleion. And we had the All Workers Militant Front on our side. Tens of Unions and organizations from all of Greece, individual workers as well, showed their practical solidarity with our struggle, either by being with us physically or by issuing statements of support, or by supporting our struggle financially.
But what we want to underline is the disinterested solidarity we received from tens of Unions, popular committees, individual workers. Without this solidarity (money, food, etc), we couldn't have made it this far!
It is precisely this element of class solidarity that needs to have its place in every militant sector of the workers, in the people at large! We do not need anyone's philanthropy!
We asked for and we accepted solidarity so we could continue a just struggle that expressed the interests of the entire working class.
Other employees of our municipality were not ready to follow on our path. This doesn't exclude the possibility that they will do so in the immediate future, as the ND_PASOK-DIMAR anti-popular attack is intensified.
We believe that our struggle has left an important legacy to the entire working class. After all, our island has not featured many similarly long-term struggles. We think therefore that it will constitute, along with the workers' struggle at ARIADNI Ltd. that preceded ours, a sound foundation for the struggles to come, particularly the struggles of youth, the next shift of the working class. After 118 days of striking, the company, under the pressure we exerted with the aid of all of society, was forced to negotiate and to accept our basic demand: to restore wages to the level at which they were in January 2012, before the imposition of a 22% pay cut.
Not a single cog can turn without us
Today, we cross the factory gates having managed to secure our basic demand, to keep our wages at the same level without any cuts. We resume work with our heads up high because we put to practice our slogan: "Not a single cog can turn without us."
We call on all workers to follow our example, just as we followed the example of the heroic Steelworkers, to organize in their Unions, to create committees in every workplace, to trust the All Workers Militant Front and class-conscious Unions, to trust the Union of Private Employees of Heracleion.
This is the only way in which we can repel the barbaric policies of the government, secure what we have won, but also embark on new victories capable of meeting our contemporary needs.
Co-workers, this is a path that will require many sacrifices; but let us not fear, for the sacrifices we will be forced to make if we surrender, if we bend our heads, will be without end. LONG LIVE OUR HEROIC STRUGGLE! LONG LIVE WORKER SOLIDARITY!
Union Committee of the Workers in Recycling, Heracleion.
The Radical, 26 July 2012
Translated by: Lenin Reloaded
The Radical, 26 July 2012
Translated by: Lenin Reloaded