Wednesday, February 4, 2015

The Immediate Demands of the Greek Working Class

Throughout the previous period, PAME, the class-conscious movement, was at the forefront of the struggle against the attack of capital on labour and popular rights. We will continue in the same direction, because the problems and the factors that led the vast majority of the people to poverty, misery and the loss of rights and conquests are still here. 

Our opponent is still here! The business groups, industrialists, ship-owners, the hotel-owners, shopping mall owners, all of them, along with their governments and the EU, placed the consequences of the crisis and the debt on the backs of the people, and they continue to become richer over the suffering and misery of the overwhelming majority of the people. 

The opponent did not leave with the change of government. Using this change, the opponent remains here, ready and equipped. The best wishes and compliments from representatives of big capital to the new government reflect its commitment to new privileges, to a different mixture of capitalist management that will help them emerge from the crisis. They want to consolidate this entire anti-labor arsenal that has been created, so they can, in conditions of capitalist recovery, neutralize the militant, demanding voices of the workers. A key pillar of the new management is that we learn to live with less, to be satisfied surviving on breadcrumbs, as the new Finance Minister advocated with his proposition of a  “frugal life”. 

The new ministers’ declarations that support “strong entrepreneurship” and speak of gradual restoration of the losses in accordance with “the growth of the economy and society” reveal their basic positions, which are carefully hidden behind communication tricks. 

In all sectors, the employers’ offensive remains and is even intensified. The layoffs, unemployment, the dominance of flexible labour relations, the unacceptable “employment programs”, the smashing of the wages in every way continue to exist under a single goal: to continually reduce the “labour cost”, so as to enrich and multiply the profits of the big business groups. 

As long as monopolies and big business groups have the economy and the power in their hands, the labour-popular movement must be on permanent alert, ready for struggle; struggle, so as to recover our losses and to enforce the fulfilment of the contemporary needs of the working class. 

Those who argue, through their statements and their practical positions, that there are common interests between capital and labour and who call for class cohesion, lie. It is mockery and deception for someone to claim that workers can hope for relief and for improvement in their lives while the profits and interests of the industrialists, the big hotel owners, the bankers and ship owners remain intact. 

The working class and its movement has voiced its demands in the past through powerful, militant and collective mass struggles in industries and workplaces. These demands are summarized in the demand: 

Recuperation of all losses-We will not live on breadcrumbs!

We move forward for wage raises everywhere! 

- SIGNING of National General Collective Agreement with re-establishment to 751 euros for those who are paid the minimum wage as a minimum for increases in all minimum wages. 

- No worker to be paid under 751 euros

- Abolition of the disgrace of 586 and 511 euro wages, the wages of hunger. 

- Re-establishment of the lower sectoral wages at levels before 2009. 

- No employee without a Collective Agreement. Put an end to the modern guillotine individual contracts. 

- Abolish immediately all the anti-labour laws that destroy the collective agreements. Complete and obligatory enforcement of the collective agreements. Implementation of the after effect of the Collective Agreements until the signing of new Collective Agreement without any time limit. Elimination of the right of individual employers to sign contracts with wages below the sectoral collective agreements

-  Reset the Collective Agreement for the municipal employees. Collective Agreements in all branches of the public sector and restoration of the wages to pre-crisis levels and re-establishment of the 13th and 14th salary. 

- Restore stable labour relations. Abolition of laws that promote and enhance flexible working relations. 

-  “No” to the liberalization of opening hours. “No” to the abolition of Sunday as a day off. 7hour workday, 5-day- 35 hours work week. 

-  Internships for students with full pay, full labour, insurance and pension rights. 

 Defend and extend insurance and pension rights. Full restoration of the losses in pensions and lump sum.

- Abolition of all anti-insurance-rights laws and all applicable laws that destroyed Social Security and pensions, to get an end to the mechanisms that reduce pensions by 2015. 

- Immediate recuperation of losses, restoring 13th and 14th pension wage. 

-  Full State guarantee for all pensions and benefits. 

-  The state and big capital to cover all immediate needs of all insurance funds. 

- Increase the basic pension of 486 euros to 600 euros. 

- No worker without insurance.

- Return of the family benefits and other benefits of the Employment Agency (OAED) that were cut. 

 Immediate and substantial protection measures for the unemployed and their families. 

- Immediate coverage for all the unemployed for the whole period of unemployment. 

- Increase in unemployment benefit to 600 euros. 

- The period of unemployment to be recognized as pensionable service without charge for the unemployed, burdening the state and employers. 

- Full and free medical care for themselves and their family unconditionally 

-  Rent subsidy for the period of unemployment, food support, clothing, school supplies, plumbing, heating oil by a state network for the unemployed and low-income workers. 

- Free public transport for all the unemployed.

- No power outage, no water, landline telephone disconnections for the unemployed and unpaid workers. 

- Suspension of all the financial obligations to banks and the state. 

- Cancellation of debt interest. 

- Stop sweatshop employment programs. 

- Stop the vile regime of outsourcing workers. Shut down the modern slave trades of temporary agencies immediately. 

- Create employment in the public and broader public sector for all employees who are suspended, without detrimental change in labour and wage rights. 

- Abolition all changes providing for increased lay offs limit and reduced compensations

 Relief of the working-class families from the extreme taxation 

- No privatization, no transfer of public, social services and organizations to business groups

- No to overtaxing. Abolish the Residence Tax (ENFIA) and the so called “solidarity tax”. Taxation of big capital to 45%

- Instant freezing of prices on all products and services and abolition of VAT with a corresponding price reduction in all types of broad popular consumption, removal of tolls, 50% reduction in tariffs of electricity, telecommunication, water. 

- Abolition the compound interest on all loans, prohibition of auctions of first and secondary residence.

- Stop all taxation through electricity bills immediately. Stop the seizure and auction of homes of the working people. Abolish taxes on oil and gas

- Recreation of the Workers’ Housing Organisation, with all its powers. Restart the construction projects of the Workers' Housing Organization.

 Exclusively Public - Free Health and Education. 

- Single, exclusively public and free modern healthcare system - Welfare, Preventive and Emergency Healthcare for everyone, funded exclusively by the state. 

-  Abolish any payment for Health services. Abolish the ticket of 5 euros at the entrance of the hospital, the 1 € in prescribing. 

-  Essential health and safety protection measures at work, with corresponding infrastructure, state body Doctors, Labour Safety Technicians, nurses. 

-  “No” to the slaughterhouses of the Centres of Assessment and Disability Certification. Full coverage for all -whatever percentage of disability- for medicine, care, technical aids from the state and unemployment benefits to all disabled unemployed. 

- Free prenatal care for all couples. Substantial and immediate measures for the protection of motherhood.  
- Exclusively free public education system by eliminating any business activity. 

- Expand the network of public free nursery for all children. 

-  Free meals and accommodation for all students in universities in new, safe students’ houses. 

 PAME also supports the demands of the self-employed: 

- Freeze the debts to the Organisation of Insurance of the Self Employed (OAEE), to the state, banks and individuals. Capitalisation of debts, without additional surcharges and fees. Prolonged setting, with payments not exceeding in total the 10% of disposable income. 

- Decriminalisation of debts owed to OAEE, abolishment of the corresponding laws. 

- No seizure of primary residence. Suspension of commercial property foreclosures, equipment, vehicles and bank accounts for the self-employed who maintain their business

PAME notes that whoever identifies the interests of workers with corporate profits, whoever puts the commitments to the European Union over the survival and the dignity of the working people, has passed on to the other side. The continuous pursuit of profit requires a disarmed labour movement, workers without rights, disorganized. 

No government, no matter what image it presents, can be stronger than the power of the working class when it demands its rights. Do not give ground for arguments of stability and illusions that the capital will give us back our rights and gains, when in both times of crisis and growth of the economy it stole the wealth the working class produced. Inaction and delay create new concessions, new losses; they make poverty and misery stable conditions. 

The exploitative system does not change. It does not become more humane through governmental changes. Our salvation--a decent life, permanent and steady jobs with full rights-- depend on our own action

To confront poverty and misery, to regain what they have lost, to demand what they need today, the workers have only one way: rally with their class, decisive struggle against capital and the political parties who serve it. 

Their first priority must be the reconstruction of the labour-popular movement, the collective decision-making processes of the trade unions, and the adoption of demands against the profits of the monopolies. 

All workers must have as a priority the path of struggle; their organization in the trade unions, in the workplaces, the branches and the neighbourhoods is an urgent priority for all employees. Our strength lies in the unity of the working class, its alliance with the self-employed, the poor farmers, the youth and the women. 

The Executive Secretariat of PAME (All Workers Militant Front)
January 2015

Text emended from the English translation in PAME Hellas

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