Greek workers mount one-day strike against EU austerity package


Greek workers mount one-day strike against EU austerity package

Alex Lantier

18 May 2017

On Wednesday, workers across Greece mobilized in a one-day strike called by the trade unions against new austerity measures dictated by the European Union and imposed by Greece’s Syriza (Coalition of the Radical Left) government.

The 900-page bill prepared by the EU and Syriza contains yet another cut to pensions, ranging from 9 to 18 percent depending on the pension; the imposition of income taxes on anyone making over €5,681 per year; cuts of up to 50 percent in state financial aid for heating, unemployment insurance, and other programs; measures to facilitate mass sackings; and more privatizations of public enterprises. The accord also reportedly contains promises by Syriza to introduce laws to limit the right to strike and facilitate the banning of strikes.

It is a further stage in the betrayal by Syriza of all the promises it made to the Greek people when it came to power in January 2015 to put an end to EU austerity. Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras declared Wednesday that the new measures would unleash a “tsunami of investment,” presumably because capital would be attracted by the prospect of hiring super-exploited Greek workers paid wages comparable to those of workers in China.

Among Greek workers, however, anger is rising against Syriza. Large sections of the working class adhered to the strike call. Trains, buses, Athens mass transit and public hospitals were all on strike or working with skeleton crews on reduced hours. Air traffic controllers struck for four hours Wednesday and will do so again on Thursday.

Tens of thousands of people marched in several protests organized in Athens by the different trade union bureaucracies—the ADEDY public-sector workers union,…

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