35 unionists put on trial again in Greece for 2013 protest

They had earlier too been prosecuted for protesting in front of the labor ministry but were acquitted during the rule of the earlier government

October 05, 2018 by Peoples Dispatch
Protests have been mounting in Greece after the government's U-turn over imposing austerity measures. Photo: The Greek Observer

35 trade unionists in Greece who had participated in a sit-in protest at the labor ministry in January 2013, were put on trial again on October 2 despite being acquitted of all charges under the previous government led by the liberal New Democracy (ND).

“At that time, it was ND who wanted to enforce the memorandum laws on social insurance, to slaughter workers’ wages and rights. Today, it is the government of SYRIZA–ANEL, which is implementing the laws of ND and together voted on the new attack on wages. Today’s government cannot pretend to be innocent,” the All Workers Militant Front (better known by its Greek abbreviation PAME) said in a statement.

After coming to power by promising a leftist alternative to the austerity policies imposed by IMF and the EU, and adopted by the previous Greek government, the SYRIZA-ANEL coalition then turned its back on the workers, and set out to continue the same policies. Workers protesting against this betrayal have faced repression.

Over the last few months alone, the government implemented a slew of anti-worker measures, including the banning of a strike by workers at the docks of the shipping company COSCO, besides deeming all the 5 strikes over the last 4 months illegal.

The statement noted that members of the executive secretariat of PAME, the president of the Regional Trade Union Center of Larissa and other activists who were involved in mobilizing farmers were also put on trial. Students protesting against the increase in the cost of food in universities canteens were tear-gassed. Those mobilizing against the auctioning off of homes of people have faced the wrath of an “entire industry of prosecutions”. The trial of trade unionists, who had already been acquitted, for the second time is the latest in the list of anti-worker moves by the SYRIZA government, the statement noted.

“The prosecution against PAME is a government’s service to the employers. It has a clear goal to maintain the climate of repression and intimidation that business groups want to impose in the workplaces. The unionists who represent thousands of workers are being brought back to trial because they have done their class duty,” PAME said, adding  “The SYRIZA-ANEL government continues the work of previous governments, but because carrots are over, as time passes, they use more and more the whip.”

Calling for solidarity and urging all trade unions to condemn this “criminalization” of workers’ struggle, PAME assured that it would continue “the escalation of the struggle against the big business, its governments and its parties [and] against the new anti-peoples measures.”