Workers stage protest at the centenary celebration of General Confederation of Greek Workers

Several trade unions claim that various political parties, including SYRIZA and PASOK, are extending membership to employers in the largest trade union confederation in Greece, and derailing the interests of the working class.

March 15, 2019 by Peoples Dispatch
Trade union protest greece
Demonstration by the PAME members at the Kalamata Dance Hall (Photo: 902.gr)

On March 14, various trade unions organized a massive demonstration in Kalamata City in Greece, protesting the interventions and presence of employers in Greek trade unions, especially in the General Confederation of Greek Workers (GSEE).

According to reports, workers staged a protest at the GSEE event, which was held in the Kalamata Dance Hall to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the confederation as part of the 37th Congress of the GSEE. The members of the All-Workers Militant Front (PAME), linked to the Communist Party of Greece (KKE), led the protest and raised a banner at the event, which read, “100 Years of Struggle for the Rights of the Working Class, Unions Belong to Workers.”

In its statement, PAME denounced the leadership of the GSEE, which is trying to derail the working class movement and promote the interests of various capitalists who have infiltrated the union. PAME rebuked the decision of the GSEE to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the labor movement behind closed doors, guarded by police and henchmen.

PAME claimed that the current leadership of GSEE has nothing to do with the unions or the collective processes of bargaining for the workers as they are employers themselves. The government and employers created non-existent unions to send their delegates to the GSEE congress and ensure the representation of their interests, and the political blocs of SYRIZA (Coalition of the Radical Left) and PASOK (Panhellenic Socialist Movement), according to the workers, are aiding such attempts to sabotage working class interests within the trade union federation.

902.gr reported that Yiannis Tassioulas, president of the Federation of Construction Workers, said the 37th conference of GSEE should be held according to the guidelines of the Statue. He stressed that “membership cards are not a flyer to share them as you did in the past days,” adding that they must be dealt with responsibility by the Organizing Committee.

Criticizing the fact that the majority of the GSEE administration is attempting to put wrong representatives to vote for their legalization, he said that 53 delegates should not take part in the Congress.

GSEE is a major trade union body in Greece, comprising of 83 workers’ unions and 74 departmental secondary confederations. It was founded in 1918 in order to defend the interests of all workers in the private sector, and is affiliated with the International Trade Union Confederation.

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