Solidarity with Greek workers
On Monday evening, I addressed a rally in Trafalgar Square in solidarity with the people of Greece. Here’s what I said.
I am proud to be here tonight to bring you best wishes on behalf of the TUC and our six million members
Proud to be here with so many people, to stand up for a fair deal for Greece
And above all – proud to stand in solidarity with the people and the trade unions of Greece
Yesterday the TUC’s General Secretary, Frances O’Grady, signed a letter to the Guardian with union leaders, civil society groups and MPs calling for Greek debt to be cancelled.
We support an international effort, an international conference to do for Greece what was done for Germany after the Second World War
An international effort, to save the Greek people from austerity, from unemployment, from destitution.
And to restore growth, national pride and dignity.
Here in Britain, we’ve seen the damage caused by ideologically driven austerity.
But in Greece, the impact has been so much worse.
- Wages down. Pensions slashed.
- Unemployment at a crisis point.
- Public services on the brink of collapse.
And on top of all that, trade unions in Greece have seen their collective bargaining rights taken away in direct contravention of the European Convention on Human Rights and the core labour conventions of the ILO.
Enough is enough.
The people of Greece cannot be expected to pick up the bill for a financial black hole rooted in the boardrooms and trading floors of Europe.
To pick up the bill for a tiny elite, who like their counterparts across Europe, see taxes and a fair contribution to the societies in which they live, as an optional extra.
The Greek government, backed by its electorate, has tried to protect pensioners, restore collective bargaining, and give hope to young people.
Now is the time for European politicians to back the democratically elected government of Greece.
Now is the time for European politicians, bankers and the IMF to put the interests of the people ahead of the interests of the 1%.
Now is the time for all of us to stand in solidarity with the people and unions of Greece.
No to austerity. Yes to social justice.
The Greek fight is our fight.
And it’s a fight we can, we must and we will, win.