Greek unions strike to save the country
The Greek trade union confederations, GSEE and ADEDY, have called a general strike on Wednesday 26 September “to save the country, starting with its people.” They are urging the Greek government to change course and reject the dictates of the Troika: the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund.
Among the measures the unions are opposing is a six-day week for five-days’ pay, further cuts to the minimum wage that is already below the poverty line, and a rise in the state pension age to 67, along with reductions in public services and workplace protections.
Unions argue that the general strike will:
“protest the proposed new anti-labour, anti-social austerity package that will again severely hit the working people and the pensioners of Greece, and refuel the recession/austerity vicious circle that over the last two-and-a-half years has methodically pushed the country over the edge.”
They say that with “wartime recession levels,” 1.15 million Greeks without a job, youth unemployment at 54.9% and 30% of the population pushed below the poverty line, Greece since 2010 has effected the greatest fiscal adjustment among OECD countries over the last 30 years thanks to “the impoverishment of Greeks, the destitution of pensioners and the demolition of the country’s productive base along with its education, healthcare, welfare and social security systems.”
TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber has sent a message of solidarity to the Greek unions, saying:
“wage and pension cuts, tax hikes and forced privatisations – which don’t appear to have worked anywhere else in Europe in delivering much needed economic growth – are unlikely to put Greece on a sustainable path of recovery.”