Greek workers stage massive protests against government policies

Unions across the education, health and maritime sectors held major demonstrations in Greece on September 24 against austerity and demanding proper state intervention

September 27, 2020 by Peoples Dispatch
Workers across Greece staged protests on September 24.

On Thursday, September 24, massive and militant demonstrations were organized across Greece by the workers from different sectors on  a variety of demands.

In the education sector, teachers and students’ unions, along with parents’ organizations, held demonstrations. The Public Hospital Doctors’ Federation (OENGE) observed a national strike and held demonstrations in all major cities of Greece. Their main demands were immediate measures to support doctors and healthcare workers in public hospitals against the pandemic. Maritime workers went on strike in Greece’s biggest port, Piraeus, protesting the attempt of the government to undermine collective contracts. reported that student groups, along with teachers and parents’ unions, held a massive rally on Thursday in Athens and in the cities of Patras, Kalamata, Preveza,Kozani, Heraklion, Chania, Chalkida, Lamia and Livadia. The mobilizations demanded shorter teaching hours, adequate breaks, reduction of the number of students per class towards 15, more teacher recruitment to fill all vacancies and adequate cleaning staff. They also demanded that adequate space be found for schools which are facing issues accommodating children, safe, frequent and free transportation for students and an end to camera surveillance in classrooms, among other demands.

Ahead of the mobilization and national strike, the Public Hospital Doctors’ Federation (OENGE) has stated that the “New Democracy (ND) government continues to insist on policy of harsh austerity and cuts, a policy where the rich live and the poor die, still announces fictitious recruitment and an increase in ICU beds on paper”.

“The government of ND, without actively supporting the public hospitals in order to be able to respond to the spread of the pandemic, is content with the narrative of individual responsibility and attempts to transfer its own political responsibility to the citizens, blaming the “irresponsible citizens”, continues to defend the reforms and cuts aimed at devaluing the National Healthcare Service (ESY), reducing staff and closing hospitals in order to deliver Health to private capital”, accused OENGE.

The maritime workers at Piraeus port also went on strike demanding new contracts with increased wages, social security and trade union rights. The All Workers Militant Front (PAME) has expressed solidarity with protesters and called for the escalation of the struggle and new actions against the anti-labor, anti-people policies of the conservative New Democracy (ND) led government.