- The owner of Greek Steelworks dismissed the workers in an effort to intimidate and avenge them
- He sacked one member of the union’s governing body (GB), two deputy members and three pioneering workers
- The managing director and strikebreakers lodged lawsuits against tens of workers
- The aim was to crush the union and impose a regime of intimidation
In an effort to intimidate and avenge the workers, the employer of Greek Steelworks decided to dismiss at least six workers yesterday -one member and two deputy members of the union’s governing body and three pioneering workers- at the same time refusing to pay them compensation, with the aim of crushing the governing body of the Union and impose a regime of fear at the plant.
The six workers had been arrested early in the morning of Friday, July 20th for guarding the strike at the factory gates against the security police, after the New Democracy, PASOK and DIMAR coalition government decided to execute a fierce clampdown plan against the heroic Greek Steelworks strikers, by mobilising public prosecutors and huge police forces that made use of violence, chemicals and arrests in order to offer their services to the industrialist Manesis.
At the same time tens of other workers had to go to the Police Stations of Haidari and Aspropyrgos yesterday afternoon, in order to receive the lawsuits lodged against them by the company’s managing director and chairman of the Board of Directors, Ioannis D. Iliopoulos, and many willing scabs. The lawsuit consisted of 200 pages (!) against each worker allegedly involved in a series of ‘criminal offences’ concerning illegal violence, insult, threats, etc.
A characteristic example is that of worker Panagiotis Papanikolaou who was sacked on the grounds that he had committed perjury at the trial concerning the strike at Greek Steelworks, as he defended the right to strike. In another case, that of Dimitris Liakos, member of the union’s governing body, there are no legal grounds at all, because trade union office confers immunity from dismissal in accordance with Law 1264/82. Such protection can be lifted only if the trade unionist has committed a criminal offence against the employer himself.
Manesis’ target is to crush the union’s governing body
After out-of-court notices and lawsuits, verbal abuse by former scabs and managerial staff, and an arbitrary assignment to the union’s GB members and pioneering workers of tasks not related to their specialisation, Manesis has now dismissed another six workers in an effort to escalate his terrorising practices against all workers, aiming to prepare the ground for removing the protection conferred to union GB members and ultimately sack them and dissolve the union, which is the only body to safeguard the factory workers’ interests.
Besides, his tactics of the past few days after the strike was suspended leave no room for misunderstanding. Having the full support of the New Democracy, PASOK and DIMAR coalition government, Manesis attempts to turn the factory from a place of work into a concentration camp, by wiping out anything that he thinks gets in his way. Giannis Vroutsis, the Minister for Labour, had promised that no worker will lose his job and that the situation will be sorted out as soon as the strike ends both in his private conversations with the union GB members and in his public statements. Similar assurances were given to the steelworkers by Antonis Roupakiotis, the Minister for Justice. It seems, however, that Manesis has other plans.
Source: The Radical, 2 August 2012
Translated by: Effie A.