On November 10, Tuesday, workers across Greece mobilized in work places as part of the National Day of Action to demand protection of public health and to ensure health and safety in the workplace during the COVID-19 pandemic. Workers under the leadership of trade unions marched to the ministry of health in Athens on Tuesday. Mobilizations were also organized in the cities of Galatsi, Kallithea, Perama, Keratsini, Piraeus, Nice, Peristeri, Egaleo, St. Barbara, Chaidari, Zografou, Kaisariani, Byron, Ymittos and Ilioupoli.
On November 5, the Greek government imposed a national lockdown in the wake of a fresh spike in COVID-19 cases across the country. Greece was able to control the spread of infections after the first round of restrictions from March 22 to May 4, limiting the number of infections to 2,632. However, the rate of infections has increased since the restrictions were relaxed, with a serious spike witnessed since October. As of November 10, around 58,187 COVID-19 cases have been reported in Greece with 825 deaths.
The Federation of Greek Hospital Doctors’ Associations (OENGE) put forth a set of necessary demands to fight the pandemic. These include urgent mass recruitment, appointment to permanent positions for all doctors, regularizing auxiliaries and all contractors without terms and conditions, adequate and exclusive funding from the state budget for the public health system. The federation also sought the inclusion of the private health sector in the state plan for dealing with the pandemic, free and repetitive testing for all employees, and withdrawal of the anti-worker and anti-trade union policies of the government.
Communist Party of Greece (KKE) leader Dimitris Koutsoumbas stated on November 10, “Today, Action Day of the unions for the strengthening of the public health system, for protection measures in the workplace, we unite our voice with the health workers, with the employees.”
On World Health Day, on April 7, Greek health workers had organized countrywide action led by the OENGE, demanding state support, including adequate funds, staff and resources for the fight against COVID-19 in the country.