Friday, July 27, 2012

Worker's Victory in "Phone Marketing"!

Worker's Victory in "Phone Marketing"!
16 July, 2012

The first worker's victory against the measure of work-hour reduction is a fact.

The workers in "Phone Marketing", which is situated in our area (Ergasias 2, Eleutheroupoli) after 114 days of strike, managed to cancel the measure according to which they were to work for 8 hours a week (for 140 euros a month gross*).

This is the first workplace where this takes place after the law was voted; they also managed to have no one fired!

Additionally, they signed to go back to work according to the old EGSSE** (the vast majority of workers in the company were paid according to this) and not according to the new one, which includes shocking reductions of salaries, especially for all young workers under the age of 25.

The heroic fight of these workers must be an example for us all. The workers win justice and their lives through struggle; not through submission, commission and fatalism.

The workers in Phone Marketing paved the way. They organized themselves in their departmental union (SETHP), they came in contact with All Workers Militant Front (PAME) and with the People's Committee of their area and above all they fought collectively, in an organized manner, unremittingly.

We salute once more the Heroic Struggle of the Strikers in Phone Marketing. Your victory is a victory for the Working Class.

The right of the Worker is the Law
No one is alone in the Crisis
One for all and all for one

The announcement made by the strikers:

Originally published at:

* including insurance, before taxes etc
** National General Collective Labor Agreement

Translated by: Ijon Tichy
Translation edited by: Lenin Reloaded

Workers in the Recycling Factory in the Herakleion Industrial Zone Victorious

Workers in the Recycling Factory in the Herakleion Industrial Zone
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-Strikers are firmly standing their ground despite unprecedented government plotting

“Elliniki Halyvourgia”: Strikers are firmly standing their ground despite unprecedented government plotting
The Radical, 25 July 2012

With the order of the government, which openly plays the game of Manesis, traffic in the National Road Athens-Corinth was interrupted three times, as trucks from the factory were allowed to enter the opposite traffic flow. The new general assembly of the steelworkers will take place today.

In the now police-occupied (inside and outside of the factory) “Steelworks of Greece”,  and after the brutal double attack of the riot police against the steelworkers, the government of PASOK-ND-DIMAR takes care to satisfy every desire of the businessman N.Manesis in order to increase his profits, while also trying to crush the strikers' struggle.

This government went so far as to stop, via the relevant ministries, the traffic on regular intervals in the National Road Athens-Corinth at the height of the junction of ELPE, in order for the industrialist's trucks to enter the factory unhindered and load the goods which are stored in the factory's facilities. Thousands of drivers were stuck on the road until the process was completed.

They forced the truck drivers to move in the opposite traffic stream
The peak of the services offered to the industrialist at the expense not only of the steelworkers, but also of thousands of drivers, was the moment when the loaded trucks were ready to leave. Then they interrupted the traffic again to do something unheard of! The trucks were allowed to exit the factory's gate and to move in the opposite traffic stream at a distance of 1km so as to avoid passing in front of the steelworkers who were gathered right next to the factory. The queue of the cars almost reached the Psychiatric Hospital in Dafni.

This police operation invoked the reaction of the striking steelworkers who reported this case of unprecedented arbitrariness. Giannis Gkiokas, pm of KKE (Communist Party of Greece), who was at the side of the steelworkers, asked for an explanation from the head of the police forces, who naturally didn't dare answer anything.

Moreover, to be sure that this operation will have the greatest …success possible, they recruited, from early on in the morning, 8 prison vans of the Riot Police with at least 20 Riot Police squads and a double digit number of police and security with a corresponding … staff, which was placed at the factory gates and which was obviously ready to proceed to massive arrests in case Manesis' interests appeared to be in jeopardy.

Traffic in the National Road Athens-Corinth was interrupted at 9.30 in the morning for several minutes until 11 trucks passed. At 11.10 a.m., traffic was interrupted again, this time in order for 4 loaded trucks to leave, and at 2.25 p.m. it was interrupted again in order for the 7 last trucks to leave.

New General Assembly today
On their part, the Greek Steelworkers plan a new General Assembly today, Wednesday at 11.00 a.m., in light of the new data that has emerged after the repeated attacks of the Riot Police and given the fact that  Labour Minister Giannis Vroutsis is effectively poking fun at them. Until late last night, he hadn't even bothered to inform the Union Leadership of the meeting in which he had invited them (he announced it in writing on Monday, the day before yesterday) on Friday, July 27th at 3 p.m. He is, in other words, avoiding meeting them in person as is repeatedly requested by the Managing Board of the Union of “Elliniki Halyvourgia” (Greek Steelworks), hoping that in this way he will manage to break the strike.

Translated by: Yannis Tembelis
Translation edited by: Lenin Reloaded

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Anti-labor ranting and the distortion of reality (The Radical)

Anti-labor ranting...
Appearing on NET* channel yesterday morning, the deputy minister of Education and Culture, K. Tzavaras, went on an anti-labor rant about what is going on in Halyvourgia**. Without a sign of basic respect for workers who have been defending their rights and the dignity of the entire working class for the last nine months, the minister stated the following:

It is a matter of protecting the free will of the worker (…) For the same reasons that the right to strike has to be protected – and the right to strike is a right that is deployed under certain legal conditions – in the same sense the state has to protect the right of someone who wants to work (…) The use of the Riot Police is an issue decided upon by the one who has the monopoly of state violence (…) We have to understand the state as a guardian of rights; when there is social resistance , the law has to be applied. And sometimes the means of enforcing the law include the Riot Police (…) Order in the operation of a productive unit (i.e. in Halyvourgia) where a number of people had to work was threatened (…) No one has the right to occupy a business because the benefit of the worker coincides with a certain boundary, which is keeping the business in operation. When a business is closed work automatically stops (…) Seeking to destroy a business and the businessman is destructive behaviour. This is not syndicalism, this is barbarity; against this barbarity every democratic state has to take action (…)”!

* New Greek TV – A state-owned TV station
** “Elliniki Halyvourgia”, translated as “Greek Steelworks”
The Radical, 25 July 2012

… And the distortion of reality
Slander, along with the conscious distortion of reality, are fundamental attributes of the political personnel of the bosses. That's why there is no reason to tell the minister that the right to strike has been secured with the blood of the workers. The right to work is questioned every day by the government, which supports any available Manesis* in firing workers by the hundreds, violently extracting millions from those placed outside production as a result of the permanent attempt of the capital to dump the burdens of its crisis on those that it exploits. Nor is there reason to remind the minister that the state is not “neutral” but serves the class which is in power, in this case the bourgeoisie. Doesn't the minister know that one of the workers' demands was the right to work of those Manesis fired? Because, if anything, it is shamelessness for the minister to say what he says for the right to work accusing the steelworkers that they deny it; to who, indeed? To themselves?

There is no reason to answer because the minister knows all of that. And we are not noting these facts because we were surprised by his fury against the workers. We didn't expect anything else. We note them to tell the employees in the Ministry of Culture that the government doesn't see only the Steelworkers this way, but every human being engaged in struggle. So they can know that the only answer to the crushing down of their life is class solidarity and unity--an organised popular counter-attack.

*Manesis is the owner of “Elliniki Halyvourgia” (Greek Steelworks)
The Radical, 25 July 2012

Translated by: Yannis Tembelis
Translation edited by: Lenin Reloaded

Yannis R.-Concerning the Greek Steelworks

Originally published in Greek: Lenin Reloaded, 21 July 2012

Yannis R.-Concerning the Greek Steelworks
Translated by Effie A.

The 24-hour repeated strikes at the factory of Greek Steelworks (Halyvourgia) began on 1 November 2011, when the employer asked the workers to accept either the layoffs of 180 workers or a five-hour workday and a 40% pay cut (the workers could not easily complement their income by working elsewhere for 3 hours per day). Meanwhile, production was on the rise:

-2009: 194,600 tonnes

- 2010: 231,000 tonnes, with the foundry closed down for two months because a worker had died in a work accident

- 2011 (until October): 266,000 tonnes

The company owns a second factory in Volos where the measures for reduced working hours and wages were accepted, but were not implemented as the entire production was transferred to the Volos plant after the strike in Aspropyrgos.

On 3 February 2012, the company obtained a license to construct a big private port next to the steel plant in Aspropyrgos, indicating there were plans to increase production [Source]

The strike and the All-Workers Militant Front (PAME)
It was never denied that the union leader, Giorgos Sifonios, is a member of PAME. However, his co-worker and striker Haris Manolis, also an active member of the Union, is a supporter of ANTARSYA. The strike has been given support by different ideological and political currents. Besides, information coming from the workers indicates that until recently when the strike started, PAME was poorly represented at the Union. In any event, the strike has been decided by the Union, which has the support of PAME but is not controlled by PAME.

The Union’s decisions
The Union’s decisions to initiate and continue the strike have been made by the Union’s General Assembly that can be attended by all the workers of Greek Steelworks. Actually, after the strike was declared ‘illegal’ by the court, a new vote was carried out with 204 workers voting for and 42 against the strike. This means that after 9 exhausting months, the vast majority of the workers voted to continue the strike [Source].

Material and financial support for the strike
Obviously, the strikers of Halyvourgia and their families have been given material and financial support during the strike. They would not be able to survive otherwise, as the majority has no other source of income beyond their wages which were not particularly high in the past to allow for significant savings.

Many people have shown solidarity with the strikers by supporting them financially (by depositing funds to the Union’s bank account) or by offering food supplies, etc. In addition to PAME, many other unions, associations and people’s assemblies have collected money and foodstuffs or organized concerts or other events to support the strikers. Anyone can support the strike without involving PAME or any other trade union.

The legal status of the strike
On 5 June 2012, seven months after it started, the strike was declared illegal by the Magistrate of the Court of First Instance in Athens, because the decision to begin the strike on 31 October 2012 was not made by a secret ballot and the company had not received a 24-hour notice. This reasoning concerning the voting procedure quickly proved to be irrelevant, as the continuation of the strike was confirmed by a new vote carried out by secret ballot (the Union’s by-laws make provisions for a show of hands or a secret ballot), with 204 voting for and 42 against the strike. After the Riot Police broke into the factory on 19 July 2012, the Union held another meeting on 21.7.2012 and decided to continue the strike by 164 votes to 5. [Source]

Negotiations and the ‘intransigence’ of the strikers
The workers’ initial demand was that the company should re-employ all those who had been laid off previously and secure their standard working hours and wages. Under a decision made on 6.6.2012, the Union submitted certain propositions for settling the conflict (immediate re-employment of 40 out of 120 redundant workers and a written commitment to employ the remaining workers in due time without hiring new employees) and reopening the plant [Source]. In the mean time, some workers have already found another job or have retired and therefore the number of employees has decreased. The Union asked the Minister of Labour, Mr. G. Vroutsis, to intervene in an effort to conclude a deal. As a response, the company threatened to close down the plant, the riot police broke into the factory and several strikers were arrested. Immediately after the attack by the riot police, the company withdrew their threats proving them to be just that -threats.

Other information
Information about the workers’ wages can be found in an interview (link) given by the Union leader Giorgos Sifonios. For example, his wage after 33 years of work under 4-day rolling shifts and night shifts amounts to 1,450E. New employees make 42E per hour, i.e. about 1,000E per month. A newly employed worker working at the departments operating five days per week (basically all those who are not directly employed in the production line) earn no more than 900E per month.

The strike at Halyvourgia has had minimum, if any, coverage in the Mass Media. The first report by a mainstream TV channel was that of NET on the 21st day of the strike. Usually the Mass Media remember the strike only to broadcast the company’s threats to close down the factory or to excoriate the Communist Party (KKE) for collaborating with the far-right Golden Dawn party (see below).

The Golden Dawn and the strike
The Golden Dawn’s first known involvement with the strike took place on 19.12.2011 (approximately 50 days after the strike began) when their local organization in Volos issued a statement (link) against the strike, indisputably taking the side of the employer. Then a number of Golden Dawn members led by Ilias Kassidiaris visited the plant of Aspropyrgos on 17.2.2012 (after three and a half months of strike) and released a video in which I. Kassidiaris claimed that they had always supported the strikers but couldn’t visit them due to their work engagements.

Mrs. Eleni Katavati who has made several appearances on TV and radio stations (mainly SKAI TV) as the leader of the Struggle Committee at Halyvourgia, is actually one of the minority workers who oppose the strike. She has often claimed to represent the majority of the workers wanting to return to their posts, but this has not been corroborated by the actual decisions made by the workers at their meetings.

Recently a cargo of residues from the steel-making process shipped from the plant of Halyvourgia at Velestino to Sardinia, Italy, was found with radioactive levels exceeding those detected in cargos originating from Fukushima, Japan after the nuclear accident (source). This was not covered by the Mass Media. One would expect the story to appear at least on the environment friendly SKAI News.

After the intervention of the riot police, some workers got into the factory. However, as pointed out in the address (link) to the General Assembly of the Union on 21.7.2012 (held immediately after the operation of the riot police), the workers employed in the production line are still on strike and therefore the plant cannot possibly operate.

Yannis R.-Concerning the Greek Steelworks
Translated by: Ijon Tichy

With the following we would like to clarify some important points related to the strike at Greek Steelworks. Unfortunately there is wide disinformation on the topic of the strike, which is caused mainly by the one sided coverage of this event from the media, and which finds a fertile ground on the blind disgust that a significant part of people feel towards PAME (All Workers Militant Front) and KKE (Communist Party of Greece).

1. Demands of the Union
The 24-hour repeated strikes in the factory of Greek Steelworks in Aspropyrgos started on 1/11/2011 when the employer asked from the employees to choose between 180 lay-offs and 5-hour 5-days work with 40% reduced earnings (which the employees wouldn't be able to counterbalance from somewhere else in their "free" 3 hours). In the meantime, the production was increased:

-2009: 194.600 tones
-2010: 231.000 tones with the foundry closed for two months because of lethal corking accident
-2011 (until October): 266.000 tones

The company has a second factory at Volos where the measures for reduced hours and earnings were accepted, but weren't applied because, due to the strike at Aspropyrgos, the factory at Volos has undertaken the whole production.

Meanwhile on February 3rd, 2012, the company received a permission for the construction of a large private port in front of the steel mill, showing signs for plans on increasing production.

2. Relations between the Union, the strike and PAME
It is indeed true that the president of the Union, Yiorgios Sifonios, is a member of PAME. Correspondingly, his colleague Haris Manolis who is participating in the strike and is an active member of the Union is sympathetic to ANTARSYA. Moreover the strike has been supported by many different, ideologically and politically, areas. Besides, information from the workers reveals that until recently, before the start of the strike, PAME didn't have a strong representation in the Union. In any case, the strike is decided by the Union, which is clearly supported by PAME, but it is not controlled by it.

3. Decisions of the Union
The decisions of the Union for the declaration and the continuation of the strike are taken by the General Assemblies of the Union in which all workers of the Steelworks have the right of participation. Actually, after the declaration of the strike as illegal, there was a new vote with the result of 204 votes in favor of the strike and 42 against. So after a struggle of 9 months, the vast majority of the workers voted in favor of the strike. After the intervention of the police forces in the strike on 19/7/2012, the Union with a new assembly on 21/7/2012 decided with 164 votes in favor and 5 votes against to continue the strike.

4. Material and economic support of the strike
The steelworkers who are on strike and their families are obviously supported materially and economically during the strike. Most of them wouldn't be able to survive otherwise since it makes sense that generally they don't have other incomes apart from their salaries, moreover they weren't paid particularly well in the period before the strike so they don't have much in savings.

The support of the steelworkers who are on strike comes the solidarity of the people, which arrives to them through the economic support of the bank account of the Union, by providing food etc. Moreover other unions and peoples' assemblies act in solidarity by collecting money and food for the support of the strikers, as PAME does. In addition events are organized like parties and concerts for this cause. In any case, anyone can support the strike without getting involved with PAME or any other union.

5. Legal status of the strike
On 5/6/2012 the strike that started on 31/10/2011 was declared illegal by the Single Member Court Of The First Instance of Athens with the rationale that the decision for the start of the strike on 31/10/2011 was taken without a secret vote and without notifying the company 24 hours earlier. This formal argument was annulled immediately by a new vote of the Union, which this time took place with a ballot box (the charter of the Union allows voting with the rise of the hand or with a ballot box) and confirmed the continuation of the strike with 204 votes in favor and 42 against. After the intervention of the police forces in the strike on 19/7/2012, the Union with a new assembly on 21/7/2012 decided with 164 votes in favor and 5 votes against to continue the strike.

6. Negotiations and "intransigence" of the strikers
The initial demand of the workers was to rehire their colleagues -- the ones that were fired -- and not to apply the reductions of hours and salaries. WIth a decision on 6/6/2012 the Union submitted written proposals for the settlement of the differences (immediate rehiring of 40 fired workers -- out of 120 -- and a written statement that the rest will be rehired in a reasonable time period without hiring new workers) and the setting back in motion of the factory. The Union asked from the under-secretary of Labor Y. Vroutsis to intervene in order to close the deal. The answer was the threat of the company to close the factory, the invasion and the occupation of the factory by police forces and the arrest of some strikers. After the intervention of the police forces the company took back the threat of closing the factory, proving that this claim was just a threat.

7. Additional facts
Concerning the earnings of the workers at Greek Steelworks, informations are given in an interview of the president of the Union, Yiorgos Sifonios. For example, Sifonions himself with 33 years of experience, rolling shifts of four days, three weekends and night shifts receives 1450 euros. The newly hired workers receive 42 euros per day, which translates to a salary of 1000 euros. In departments that operate between Monday and Friday (probably those who don't work directly in the steel production) a married newly hired worker receives a salary of less than 900 euros.

The strike at Greek Steelworks has a very limited, almost nonexistent coverage from the media. The first report in the mainstream media was made by NET on the 21st day of the strike. Usually the media remember to report to the public the threats of the company about closing the factory and to denounce the "collaboration" between KKE - Golden Dawn (see below).

8. Relation of the Golden Dawn to the strike
The first known contact between the Golden Dawn and the strike was made on 19/12/2011 (approximately 50 days after the start of the strike) with an announcement of the branch of the Golden Dawn at Volos in which they side clearly with the employer and against the strike. After this, a group of members of the Golden Dawn led by Ilias Kassidiaris visited the factory at Aspropyrgos on 17/2/2012 (3 and a half months after the beginning of the strike) and released a video where Kassidiaris claims that they were on the side of the strikers since the first moment but they couldn't visit them because they were busy.

Miss Eleni Katavati who shows up on TV and radio stations (mostly SKAI) as the president of the Action Committee in Greek Steelworks belongs to the minority of the Union against the strike. She claims that she represents the majority of the workers who want to go back to work, but this hasn't been verified in the General Assemblies.

Recently on a cargo with waste from steel processing, that left from the factory of the Greek Steelworks in Velestino with Sardenia as its final destination, the levels of radioactivity that were detected were higher than the ones that were detected on cargos that from left Fukushima after the nuclear accident! This issue wasn't reported by the media. Someone would expect that especially the ecologically sensitive SKAI would spend some time on it.

After the intervention of the police forces, some workers entered in the factory being escorted by the police. As it is mentioned in the motion of the General Assembly of the Union on 21/7/2012 (immediately after the intervention of the police forces) the workers who work on the production are still on strike so the factory is practically not operating.

Having read the above it is up to everyone to check the given information and cross check them with other sources. It is also up to her/him to consider who are the ones who distort or cover facts about the strike and why they do that.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

AWMF Truck Drivers' Struggle Committee-Don't accept the transport of goods from "Greek Steelworks"!

All Workers Militant Front Truck Drivers' Struggle Committee
Don't accept the transport of goods from "Greek Steelworks"!

The Truck Drivers' Struggle Committee of the AWMF issued a call to all drivers to express their solidarity for striking steelworkers by refusing to transport goods from "Greek Steelworks", expressing its own unconditional support to the striking steelworkers.

In its statement, the Committee notes: "For nine months, the striking steelworkers have been giving a courageous answer to the drastic attacks of the capitalist mogul Manesis--owner of Greek Steelworks--and of the political lackeys of the ND-PASOK-DIMAR government, by waging the harsh but heroic struggle of a strike. They have not relented through the blackmail and provocations deployed by the employer; nor have they relented through the threats and terrorism of the Riot Police deployed by the government, itself acting under employer's orders.

Having as their leader their class-conscious Union, and using as their weapon the solidarity of all workers, they are standing their ground and showing us the path of struggle.

We, truck drivers, are expressing our unconditional support to the struggling steelworker strikers. We will stand with them, next to them, at the factory gates. It is our duty but also an honor to struggle on their side. The threats and intransigence of the employer and of the political or non political lackeys who serve him will not stand."

The Radical, 25 July 2012
Translated by Lenin Reloaded

265 Tage Streik: Solidarität mit den Stahlarbeitern von »Elliniki Chalyvouirgia«!

265 Tage Streik: Solidarität mit den Stahlarbeitern von »Elliniki Chalyvouirgia«!
Samstag, den 21. Juli 2012

PAMESeit dem 31. Oktober 2011 streiken die Arbeiter des Stahlwerks »Elliniki Chalyvouirgia«, des größten Stahlunternehmens in Griechenland. Arbeit unter unmenschlichen Bedingungen mit Temperaturen über 110° C, Verbrennungen, Ohnmacht, tödliche Arbeitsunfälle wegen des schlechten Arbeitsschutzes und der schlecht gewarteten Ausrüstung sind der Preis für den Profit des Unternehmens, das mehr als 30 Prozent des heimischen Stahlmarktes kontrolliert und durch steigende subventionierte Exporte seine Position ausbaut.

Doch das Unternehmen versucht unter dem Vorwand der Wirtschaftskrise noch schlimmere Arbeitsbedingungen auf die Arbeiter zu verhängen: Kurzarbeit und Lohnkürzungen. 180 Kündigungen sind ausgesprochen worden. Darauf antworteten die Werksarbeiter in Aspropyrgos bei Athen mit dem Ausstand.

Seit dem ersten Streiktag unterstützt eine massive Solidaritätsbewegung den Kampf der Streikenden, die von der klassenbewussten Gewerkschaftsfront PAME initiiert wurde. Gewerkschaftsorganisationen, Studenten- und Schülervereine, Bewegungen der kleinen Landwirte und Selbstständigen u.v.a. drücken ihre materielle und moralische Solidarität aus. Auch international kommt es zu tatkräftigen Solidaritätsaktionen, wie z.B. Veranstaltungen, Kundgebungen, Spendensammlungen.

Der Streik der Stahlarbeiter macht den Industriellen, den Monopolverbänden und ihrem politischen Personal Angst. Angst vor dem organisierten Kampf, der Klassenauseinandersetzung und der -solidarität, Angst vor der Organisierung in den Betrieben und an den Arbeitsplätzen. Deswegen bekämpfen sie diesen Arbeitskampf mit allen Mitteln: Erpressungen, Provokationen, bis hin zu dem Erwirken eines Gerichtsurteils, durch das der Streik als illegal bezeichnet wurde und den Weg zu dem Angriff der Polizeisonderkräfte mit Tränengas und Schlagstöcken am Freitag (20.7.2012) eröffnete.

Die Koalitionsregierung von Liberalen, Sozialdemokraten und der Partei »Demokratische Linke« tragen die Hauptverantwortung für die Erstürmung des Stahlwerks durch die Polizei. Es bestätigt sich zum wiederholten Mal, dass die Kapitalisten und ihre Regierungen vereint mit dem Staatsapparat gegen die Arbeiter, gegen alle um ihr nacktes Überleben kämpfenden Volksschichten vorgehen. Der Schlag, der in den frühen Morgenstunden nach Gangsterart ausgeführt wurde, zielte nicht nur auf die kämpfenden Stahlarbeiter, die seit neun Monaten für ihre Grundrechte streiken. Es ist ein Angriff auf die gesamte Arbeiterklasse, um sie zu zwingen, die barbarische volksfeindliche Politik zu erdulden.

Die Kommunistische Partei Griechenlands ruft zur Stärkung der Solidarität mit dem Kampf der Stahlarbeiter auf. Der Terror gegen unser Volk darf nicht durchgehen!

Solidaritätsaktionen der KKE in Berlin:

So., 22.7., 13.00 Uhr, Mauerpark
Mo., 23.7., 18.00 Uhr, Alexanderplatz

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Steelworkers' Strike: Lies upon lies

Lies upon lies
The Radical [Rizospastis], 
Organ of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Greece, 22 July 2012
Translated by: Lenin Reloaded

Propaganda attacking the steelworkers has reached a fever pitch: They say:

-- "The right to work is sacred." Those speaking of a "right to work" are the guardians of an anarchic, rotten system, which throws millions of people into unemployment. Under conditions of crisis, indeed, unemployment is catapulted in capitalism, due to the uncontrollable destruction of productive forces, with labor power being first in line.  Already, the unemployed in Greece are 1.500.000. Which government has defended their right to work? The government and its parties are defending Manesis, who has already fired 120 workers and who, according to his own statements, intended to shut down the factory and let hundreds of families starve. When it comes to the handful of strike-breakers, the right to work is sacred: this is what the government and its lackeys are saying; but for the hundreds of strikers struggling on behalf of their fired co-workers, it isn't sacred. Their lies and hypocrisy are beyond belief.

-- "We have to apply the law." But which law? The law that proclaims 9 out of 10 strikes illegal. The law that allows employers to impose part-time work on workers, and hence wages that look more like tips. The law that cancels benefits for heavy and health-threatening labor for entire categories of workers who are certain to die slaving, before they manage to go on pension. The law that never punishes the employer when the worker is killed in his inferno. The law that deprives the family of the worker from basic services in Health and Education. These are the laws that they want to see applied; that's why they behave like mad dogs, using D.A.s and court orders whenever workers and the people attempt to resist. The court order against the strike is an alibi and a fabrication. Their justice is class justice. For, according to the letter of the law, the lay-offs that took place during the strike were also illegal, and the workers protested this. But no one cared to apply this law. The decision of the Steelworkers to strike was fully legal, too. But this means nothing to those who took up the mission to break it, one way or another. Their system is unjust toward workers and the people from its very foundation. From the standpoint of the workers, justice is their own struggle to survive, to stop those policies that drive them to crushing poverty, to overturn bourgeois injustice, to subvert bourgeois power.

-- "Intransigence doesn't help, we must have dialogue." They know what they are talking about.  They want labor unionists and a workers' movement that assist them, not oppose them. They want "the collaboration of classes", so they can move freely with the barbaric measures they are imposing; not unions willing to fight for workers' rights. They want Unions with leaderships like the one of the Volos Steelworks, proud to wear the seal of approval of the employer, since it consented to chain the workers down and to accept labor conditions such that two workers have already come close to losing their lives in respective "work accidents." They want "social partners", like those they have in the Union of Private Sector Employees and elsewhere, who will behave like proper victims. They want a labor "movement" tailored to the needs of the employers and of government policy, a fifth column against labor struggles, slanderers and saboteurs of class-conscious unions.

-- "Labor struggles shut factories down." A bold-faced lie. Let them answer: How many labor mobilizations have taken place in the last few months in SIDENOR, which was recently closed? How many class-conscious labor unions did the 600 businesses that were shut down during the last year in Northern Greece have? How many strikes were organized in these businesses? How many, out of the 1.5 million unemployed,  used to work in businesses where a strong, class-conscious union was active in struggle? It is the crisis that shuts factories down while making other factories stronger.  Factories are closed even under conditions of capitalist development (e.g. that of Trikolan), when the capitalist either does not make the profit he expects to make, or is crushed by competition, or moves his capital to other, more profitable sectors of the economy. Those who say that it is labor struggles that close factories are those who in the 1990s, and in the name of the "reconstruction of the Balkans", funded even the purchase of fax machines for businesses that closed operations in Greece so as to move to Bulgaria, Skopje, Albania and Rumania, where wages were drastically lower than those of Greece, making their profit far higher. 

One last thing: The "good ol' boys" like Adonis Georgiadis, who appeared in SKY News to "unveil" the existence of a "front" between the Communist Party of Greece and the fascists of "Golden Dawn", reputedly jointly acting on behalf of the Steelworkers, are vicious liars. They try to slander the Communist Party and the just struggle of the Steelworkers and to give the advantage to the pitbulls they themselves are training against the people. Because, though the "Golden Dawn" is now wearing the sheep's clothing of "pro-labor" attitude, the workers of the Steelworks at Aspropyrgos know very well that in the vital moment when they sought support from their colleagues in Volos, Magnesia, the staff of "Golden Dawn", together with the Union majority there, and together with the local potentates of today's government and their union representatives, did all they could to stop the strike at Manesis' factories, acting as his apparatus.  

International Communist League-For International Solidarity with Greek Steel Workers!

On Strike for Over 200 Days
For International Solidarity with Greek Steel Workers! The following article is reprinted from Workers Hammer No. 219 (Summer 2012).

Workers at the Greek steel plant Elliniki Halyvourgia have been on strike for nearly eight months. Since October last year, they have been fighting against an attack by their employer, Nikos Manesis, who is attempting a drastic cut in wages. He has also fired over 100 workers under new anti-union laws introduced as part of the conditions of the EU/IMF [European Union/International Monetary Fund] loans. The steel workers are part of the small but strategic Greek proletariat. According to Guardian journalist Jon Henley, this steel factory made iron rods and girders that helped build the Athens Metro, the Olympic stadium and the bridge linking the Peloponnese to mainland Greece (, 14 June). It is in the vital interests of all workers in Europe to stand in internationalist solidarity with these courageous workers in their class battle. A victory for the steel workers would be a blow to the Greek capitalists and the imperialist EU and IMF.

The strike was declared illegal by the courts on 5 June, but the strikers remain solid. A team of comrades visited the pickets on 9 June. We reprint below an edited version of their report.

*   *    *

Yesterday afternoon we visited the picket line at the Halyvourgia Steel Factory in Aspropyrgos, a seaside town outside Athens. The strike there has been the subject of a great deal of press coverage and is something of an epicentre for class struggle in Greece and around Europe. Comrades had made an earlier trip to the picket lines and the most recent issue of Le Bolchévik, newspaper of our French section, has a statement of solidarity with the strike. The surrounding town is, in a word, desolate. The small town centre was empty.

The workers were picketing outside the factory gates. There are PAME slogans, signs, and banners along the highway, on the gates, and across nearby overpasses. PAME is a formation within the trade-union movement that is in political solidarity with the Greek Communist Party, the KKE. A sign in German from the metalworkers union proclaims solidarity with the strike, saying “Your fight is our fight.” Ominously, there is also one instance of fascist Golden Dawn graffiti near the plant. There are security agents patrolling the property. Ten or so workers were stationed inside the main gates, blocking the entrance to the factory. They were reading Rizospastis, the KKE’s daily newspaper. All of the workers were men, and their ages ranged from 30s-60s. We were told that during the week, there are many more workers on the picket line, including women.

We introduced ourselves as Trotskyists from the ICL who were visiting to show our support for the strike. The workers were very friendly. Union officials at the plant allowed us to distribute our article “Banks Starve Greek Working People” [WV No. 1002, 11 May]. We also left copies of our statement calling for critical support to the KKE in the election. We showed them Workers Vanguard (published by the Spartacist League/U.S.) with a recent article on the Hamilton, Ontario, steel lockout (WV No. 976, 18 March). One union official we spoke to is a 30-year veteran of the plant who is responsible for distributing the weekly strike pay. A striker read the title of our article—“Greek Trotskyists Say: Vote KKE! No Vote to Syriza!” (reprinted on page 7)—in a sarcastic tone. Another worker asked us to read the letter in Le Bolchévik. The workers nodded their agreement during the sections on international solidarity, but stopped paying attention once we got to a quote from Trotsky.

Background to the Strike

There are some 380 workers at the steel plant who have been on strike for 224 days as of today. The trade union called the strike and PAME stepped in. The plant is owned by the Greek capitalist Nikos Manesis, who owns a similar plant in Volos. The strike began last autumn after Manesis demanded five-hour workdays and a 40 per cent cut in wages. He claimed that the factory was in financial trouble, and that this would be a stop-gap measure. According to the strikers, the union counter-offered to maintain an eight-hour day and take a temporary 40 per cent pay cut, to be repaid when the plant became profitable again. But Manesis rejected this and announced that he would fire the legal maximum of 5 per cent of the workforce every month if the union didn’t accept. The workers went on strike, and Manesis has fired over 100 workers so far. In mid-January, when the union met with the Greek labour minister, Manesis fired five workers when the meeting was announced, another five when they entered the ministry building, and another five when the meeting was postponed. Another striker told us that one of their main demands is for all the fired workers to be rehired. Meanwhile, workers in the Volos plant were forced to accept the company’s offer, causing tension between the two groups of workers.

We were also told that earlier this year, a number of workers at Aspropyrgos signed a statement, prepared by the company’s lawyers, stating that they wanted to return to work. This was used as the basis for a law suit against the union. However the union was able to convince the majority of the workers to take back their statements. These workers said they didn’t know their statement would be used in court, and signed a counter-statement declaring they supported the strike. The strikers told us they receive weekly financial support from their union, plus food and clothing for their kids from supporters. Six workers don’t take the money because they don’t want to ask, and there are a number of others who have been cut off for refusing to take back their anti-strike statements. A number of workers are chosen each month to monitor the steel furnace to keep it from exploding. These workers are paid, but are not considered scabs by the workers and are supported by the union. PAME and the KKE provide food and other material help to the strikers and their families. Last Christmas, a PAME official delivered one lamb to the family of every striking worker.

The State Is Not Neutral

There have been several attacks on the strike by scabs, but so far the union has repulsed all of them. The union official told us that a number of scabs went to the police chief for protection, but he told them that if he protected them he would also have to protect the striking workers if they asked. Of course, the state is far from neutral in this protracted and popular struggle. The union and three individual workers are facing a law suit, for not carrying out the strike vote in accordance with the law. A few days ago the courts declared the strike illegal and this led to another attack by scabs. For defending their picket line, some workers have been charged with assault and are awaiting trial.

But the strikers remain defiant and the militancy of this strike has really galvanised popular opinion in a time of horrific austerity. The union official told us a number of stories about solidarity, both from within Greece and around the world. He showed us pictures drawn by schoolchildren who supported the strike. A mainstream Italian news network has filmed at the plant and there have been a number of solidarity visits. A wealthy Greek woman has periodically delivered carloads of groceries and donated 600 euro [$746].

We highlighted the need to oppose nationalism and defend the rights of minorities, including national minorities, in Greece. We inquired about reports that Golden Dawn had visited the pickets and were told that several Golden Dawn supporters showed up anonymously with boxes of food and supplies; one of them took the microphone and quickly announced that Golden Dawn supported the strike. Not surprisingly, some workers were upset by this and complained about it to the union officials.

The workers understand that this strike is very important in Greece and internationally. They recognise that they have become a model for other struggles, and they do not want to cave in, despite the extreme hardship of such a long strike. A worker told us that there is no way he can go back to work without victory, after over 200 days on the picket line. He said, “If I go back to work now, how will I be able to look at my children?” Despite this commitment, conditions are very difficult. Now that the state has declared the strike illegal there will be more pressure and more attacks by scabs and the police. It is vital to approach unions internationally now for letters of solidarity. As we left the plant, I told the union official that the ICL sends its greetings and wishes the workers victory in their struggle. Tears came to his eyes and he embraced me.

Contact Information

• The address for solidarity letters is:
17th Km NEOAK
Elleniki Halyvourgia
Asproprygos 19300, Greece
Fax number: 011-30-210-557-8360
Telephone: 011-30-210-557-0829

Donations in support of the steel strikers should be sent to:
National Bank of Greece
IBAN: GR 40 0110 2000 0000 2006 2330 152
Account holder: Dimitris Liakos

The steelworkers guarding modern-day Thermopylae

The steelworkers guarding modern-day Thermopylae
By Leonidas Oikonomakis On July 21, 2012

If Spain has the miners of Asturias, Greece has the steelworkers of Aspropyrgos. Their 9-month strike symbolizes the workers’ struggle in neoliberal Europe.


Honor to those who in the life they lead
define and guard a Thermopylae.
Never betraying what is right,
consistent and just in all they do
but showing pity also, and compassion;
generous when they are rich, and when they are poor,
still generous in small ways,
still helping as much as they can;
always speaking the truth,
yet without hating those who lie.

And even more honor is due to them
when they foresee (as many do foresee)
that in the end Efialtes will make his appearance,
that the Medes will break through after all.
C.P. Cavafy
Translated by Edmund Keeley/Philip Sherrard
(C.P. Cavafy, Collected Poems. Translated by Edmund Keeley and Philip Sherrard. Edited by George Savidis. Revised Edition. Princeton University Press, 1992)

If Spain has the miners of Asturias, Greece has the steelworkers of Aspropyrgos. Their nine-month strike symbolizes the struggle for the defence of labor rights, worker’s solidarity, and the government’s role in today’s neoliberal Europe.

It all started nine months ago.

The ownership of the factory of Halyvourgia Ellados (Steelworks of Greece), under the pretext of the financial crisis, announced to the 360 workers that they had two options:

Either to accept an horizontal 40% salary cut and five-hour-shift workdays, or the layoff of 170 of them. The workers assembled and decided to reject the blackmail. Very soon thereafter, the owners of the factory announced to 120 of the steelworkers their layoff. The workers assembled again, and decided to go on strike in solidarity with their fired co-workers, demanding their re-employment. And they have not worked in the factory ever since. Until Thursday night.

While the negotiations between the ownership and the workers where ongoing, the ownership announced to the Minister of Labor that they would close down the factory of Aspropyrgos and fire the remaining 240 workers, unless the strike would break. Obviously the nine-month struggle of the workers had started to make an impact on the owners’ profit. A nine-month strike which, to understand the context, has been maintained with huge efforts by the 360 steelworkers and their families, who of course have been left without income throughout this whole period of time. Of course this heroic struggle attracted the solidarity of Greek (and international) civil society, which through numerous initiatives has been providing support to the Greek steelworkers.

Their struggle has been viewed nationally as the modern-day Thermopylae, where a few workers and their families have been defending the labor rights and the dignity of the working population of the country. If the neoliberal logic would pass through the “Gates of Fire” of the Steelworks, then nobody would be left to defend labor rights in this country.

And the steelworkers were holding well, until the ownership of the factory found its own modern-day Efialtes in the face of Antonis Samaras’ government, who had no problem to play that role. Yesterday at dawn, like a proper Efialtes, it sent the riot police to break the strike, under the pretext of “protecting the right to labor” of the workers who wanted to go back to work. In reality, protecting the interests of the factory’s ownership.

Solidarity demonstrations have been and are still being organized in Athens and Thessaloniki ever since, and the steelworkers have announced that despite the fact that the factory re-opened, they are determined to continue their strike.

The incident described above is not just a story of a strike that was broken. It is much more than that. On a symbolic level, it shows what’s the role of government in today’s neoliberal Greece and Europe, and whose interests it is protecting. And it is not coincidental that the government decided to intervene to break this strike, just like it was not coincidental that Xerxes decided to break the resistance of the 300 Spartans and the 700 Thespians at Thermopylae: they were both expecting that if they could make it through the Gates of Fire, there wouldn’t be much resistance left to beat.

What the Greek government forgets, though, is that the sacrifice of the Spartans and the Thespians at the Battle of Thermopylae did not go in vain. It gave the necessary time to the remaining Greek army to reorganize itself, and finally beat the army of Xerxes in the battles that followed: that of Salamis, that of Plataea, and that of Mycale…

Decision of the General Assembly of the Steelworkers' Union

On Saturday, July 21, the crucial General Assembly of the Union of Workers in the Greek Steelworks decided, by vast majority (164 votes for, 5 against), the continuation of the strike. It also issues a call for a demonstration at Omonoia Plaza on Monday, 7.30 pm.
Source: New Left Current (NAC)

Greek Steel Workers Strike: 264 days of struggle

Greek steel workers by YORGOS KARAHALIS / Reuters
Greek Steel Workers Strike: 264 days of struggle
By Nicolas Mottas
OpEd News
A working class hero is something to be.
An ongoing revolution is taking place during the last nine months in crisis-stricken Greece. I'm not referring to the known scenes of indignant citizens marching outside the Parliament. I'm referring to a less known, but much more significant, story. It's a heroic struggle that is taking place outside the steel plant of the "Hellenic Halyvourgia" (Greek Coal/Steel industry) at Aspropyrgos, a suburb of Athens. The story is a characteristic example of class struggle within the context of the severe capitalist crisis which dominates the country since 2009.

For 264 consecutive days, the workers of the private-owned industrial colossus "Hellenic Halyvourgia" remain on strike, thus trying to defend their obvious rights with all the means they got in their hands. It could be the story of any worker, in any part of the world. Last Tuesday, a mass rally in support of the steel workers took place in central Athens -- the message was more than clear: the struggle of the strikers will continue until victory!

From his side, in a profound effort to terrorize the workers, N.Manesis (the owner of "Hellenic Halyvourgia") has publicly threatened that the Aspropyrgos steel plant will be soon closed if the strike continues. The whole story started last October: The administration of the industry -- the largest of steel production in Greece -- decided to reduce the working hours and cut the salaries in an effort to counterbalance the losses generated by the economic crisis. On October 2011, taking advantage of the anti-labor laws passed under the EU-IMF bailout agreement, the employer announced drastic cuts in wages, the layoffs of 36 workers and his plan to fire 180 from a total of around 400 working men and women. The action provoked a strong response from the Union -- supported by the All Workers Militant Front (PAME) -- which decided the first 24-hours long strikes.

Answering the hypocritical arguments of the industry's administration, the president of the steel workers Union Giorgos Sifonios presented data according to which: the production of iron at the steel plant had been increased from 194,600 tones in 2009 to 231,000 in 2010 and even before the end of 2011 it had already reached 266,000 tones (Rizospastis, 2.11.2011). It therefore became absolutely clear that the motives behind the layoffs and the cuts is the maximization of the owner's profit -- the very essence of the capitalist system's function.

Since then, the steel workers continue their strike under especially difficult circumstances. While the government "washes its hands" calling for a "commonly accepted" solution, a propagandistic mechanism has tried to throw mud on this heroic struggle. I copy from a recent announcement issued by PAME, the working coordination center affiliated with the Greek Communist Party:

"The last press releases coming from part of the Media and people working for Manesis slander the trade union and the steelworkers' struggle and are by no means random. They are parts of the plan to terrorise with threats and blackmails, to break the steelworkers' proud struggle, and show "green light" to the employers in total. In this game of impressions one loyal ally of Manesis is the governmental and employers' trade unionism. They never lose the chance to attack the trade union, for the tactics it has been following, and to advice it to submit. On Thurdsay Mr Panagopoulos (president of General Confederation of Greek Workers), making statements in one of the state TV channels, supported the position that "mo matter what salaries and working relations, as long as jobs aren't lost". Right now the capital has got one and only goal. They want to crush the price of labour power, under the conditions of crisis, so all these can be used as "fertilizers" in order to achieve recuperation. The struggles the workers not to become slaves, is called "blackmail" and "the cause of shutting down the factories". On the other hand wages of 400 euros and crushing the workers' lives is considered healthy entrepreneurship and necessary realism".

All these months, the leadership and members of the Greek Communist Party (KKE) have been by the side of the steel workers and their families. Talking to the media, the KKE Secretary-General Aleka Papariga brought the issue of the strike at the center of the political interest. During her last visit to the plant earlier this month, Papariga called the political parties to support the demands of the workers, contrary to the threats of the employer. And indeed, there is no middle situation on that case -- you can be either with the workers or with the industrialist. Any other stance can be described only as a hypocritical speculation or pure opportunism.

For 264 days the Greek steel workers try to protect their vested rights contrary to a mechanism of terrorism. On June, the Athens First Instance Court declared the strike as 'illegal' following a decision by the judge who argued that the strike, started on 31 October 2011, was decided without holding a... secret ballot. The strike was therefore 'unlawful', according to the class-oriented standards of Greek Justice. As a consequence, a secret ballot was held by the workers union on the 28 th of May which showed 204 votes for and only 42 votes against.

However, the mechanisms of manipulation and anti-labor terrorism continue to blame the striking workers for closing down the steel plant. But the truth is that the workers striking activity has absolutely nothing to do with the closing of the industries -- it is the competition character of the capitalist, free market economy and the neoliberal policies which have put lockers to many Greek industries and factories.

For example, a number of industries in Greece have either cancelled their function or moved their plants to neighboring countries: United Textile (Lanaras), Diamond Hellas, Ideal Standard, the shipyards at Skaramangas port, Katselis Thessaloniki, Foco, Mines at Kassandra, Viosol and many others. The Thessaloniki Industry Chamber has provided data according to which 627 small and large enterprises have shut down during 2012.

Who should be blamed for closing down all these private industries? The workers or the industrialists? The struggles of the working people or the governmental policies?

A common struggle.
The nine-months long struggle of the steel workers at "Hellenic Halyvourgia" is a struggle of the whole working class in Greece. It's a common struggle. And it gives a message to the working people around Europe, but also to the rest of world, wherever the rights of the workers are threatened by the laws and practices of capitalist oppression. Messages of solidarity, from Spain to Mexico and from France to Cyprus have been issued in support of the Greek workers who demand a better future, for them and for their children.

The 264 days of strike at the steel plant of Aspropyrgos, a few miles outside Athens, is an example of a solid, heroic resistance. The workers are determined to continue their struggle until victory -- for that they have contributed with specific proposals (Collective Contracts for everyone, reinstatement of the fired workers, humane conditions of work ) including the cancellation of the layoffs decided by the employer. The vindication of this hard and proud struggle will definitely be a victory for every worker in any corner of the world.

[UPDATE] - July 20, 2012:

The above article was written on Thursday, 19th of July. On the early morning of Friday, Riot Police forces, under the instructions of the coalition government, attempted to break the heroic strike of the steel workers, thus arresting the strikers picket line, who have been on strike for 9 months. Very quickly and after the mobilisation of PAME, hundreds of workers gathered at the gates of HALIVOURGIA to support the strikers steel workers. The solidarity mobilisation was still in progress on Friday afternoon.

All Workers Militant Front-Attempts to Break the Nine-Month Strike of the Steelworkers Using Riot Police/INTENTOS DE ROMPER LA HUELGA GENERAL DE 9 MESES DE LOS TRABAJADORES DE LA ACERÍA USANDO LA POLICÍA ANTIDISTURBIOS


On the early morning of Friday, Riot Police forces, under the instructions of the three-party Greek government (ND neoliberals, PASOK socialdemocrats, DHMAR) attempted to break the heroic struggle of the steel workers, by arresting the strikers picket line, who have been on strike for 9 months.

The executive secretariat of PAME, responded immediately by calling the workers and the trade unions of the area to go immediately at the factory of the HALIVOURGIA. In very short time, at the gates of HALIVOURGIA gathered hundreds of workers from all over Athens to support the strikers steel workers. The solidarity mobilisation is still in progress.

The board of the steel workers’ trade union met immediately and calls for solidarity the workers of the area to a rally at the gates of the factory in the afternoon. Tomorrow Saturday, will realise General Assembly of the workers of the steel industry in order to decide how to respond to this new attack.

We call all trade unions and workers to condemn the antilabour and terrorizing practices of the Greek government that responds with violence and suppression to the just demands of the workers. The struggle of the steelworkers against wage cuts and lay offs is struggle of all workers.

The Executive Secretariat


Desde temprano esta la mañana la policía antidisturbios, bajo las instrucciones del gobierno tripartito (ND neoliberales, PASOK y DHMAR socialdemocratas) intentaron romper la lucha heroica de los trabajadores de la acería, al detener los grupos de salvaguardia, que han estado en huelga desde hace 9 meses.

El Secretariado Ejecutivo de PAME, respondió inmediatamente llamando a los trabajadores, las trabajadoras y los sindicatos de la zona a que vayan inmediatamente a la fábrica de HALIVOURGIA. En muy poco tiempo, en las puertas de HALIVOURGIA se reunieron cientos de trabajadores de Atenas para apoyar a los huelgistas acereros. La mobilización de solidaridad todavia está en marcha.

La Junta Directiva del sindicato de los trabajadores de la acería se reunió inmediatamente e hizo un llamado para una manifestación de solidaridad a las puertas de la fábrica por la tarde. Mañana, Sábado, se realizará la Asamblea General de los trabajadores con el fin de decidir cómo respondera a este nuevo ataque.

Llamamos a todos los sindicatos y los obreros a condenar la política antilaboral y terrorista del gobierno griego que responde con violencia y represión a las justas demandas de los trabajadores. La lucha de los trabajadores de la acería en contra de los recortes salariales y de los despidos es lucha de todos los trabajadores.

Call for international solidarity for Greek Steelworkers' Strike

This morning, at approximately 5.30 am,  and after the issuing of a warrant for the termination of the heroic Steelworkers' Strike, in Aspropyrgos, Attica, riot police forces attacked the strikers, arresting six workers who were safeguarding the strike site, and molesting members of the Communist Party of Greece and the Coalition of the Radical Left who were on site. They subsequently allowed a small number of scabs and office managers to enter the factory, resuming work. This action took place despite the fact that the majority of the workers had recently decided for a continuation of the strike. This violent and dictatorial attempt to put an end to the longest workers' strike in Greek history (263 days as of today) has been the culmination of months of employer-encouraged attempts to isolate, sabotage, slander and in every way undermine the living symbol of Greek popular resistance against capitalist barbarity and naked exploitation in the country, under the auspices of the Greek Government, the IMF, the EU, and the European Central Bank.

All the parties of the Greek Left, with the ignominious exception of the class traitors of the so-called "Democratic Left" that has joined forces with the corrupt plutocracy that rules the country with an iron fist, have made statements of protest and are organizing immediate demonstrations starting today.

We call on all the Progressive Forces globally --workers, unemployed, underpaid, precarious laborers, pensioners, women, immigrants-- to support and show solidarity for the beating heart of the European workers' movement: the Steelworkers of Greece Strike. By agitating, demonstrating, protesting against what is taking place in Greece, calling on their governments to protest the utter annihilation of basic working rights within the European Union, in a so-called "advanced" country of the west.

Funds are also sorely needed by the long-unemployed workers, who are currently being blackmailed to return to work or stay fired.

The Greek Steelworkers' strike Bank Account information is as follows:

National Bank of Greece
IBAN: GR4001102000000020062330152
BIC or Swift Code : ETHNGRAA ( Bank Idendifier Code )
Name of Bank Account Owner (on behalf of the strikers): Liakos Dimitris

For English-language information, please visit the All Workers Miltant Front, at this address: Please disseminate as widely as possible.